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Non-Partisan & Data Driven, Maryland Looks a Lot Like California!

Speaker Duane Carey President Maryland Free (

Duane Carey is President of Maryland Free a statewide, nonpartisan political research and education organization supported by corporations, trade associations, chambers of commerce, small businesses, and individuals. Founded in 1983 as Maryland Business for Responsive Government and changed to Maryland Free in 2019 to better reflect the mission. Duane is President of Impact Marketing and Public Relations.

Maryland Free grades Maryland’s legislative bills based on the cost to our citizens and businesses. Three resources are primarily referenced in grading the bills, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States” lead author Dr. Author Laffer. “How Money Walks – How $2 Trillion Moved Between the States and Why it Matters” by Travis Brown. Third reference is “Rich States Poor States” an Alec Laffer State Economic Competitive Index.

Referencing these sources, Mr. Carey explained how income tax rates is a driving force for individual decisions to move to a tax friendly state and establish businesses in these friendlier states. Maryland and California have income tax rates at 8.2% and 8.4% respectively compared to states that are “kicking our butts” North Carolina and Utah with rates at 4.75% and 4.85% respectively.

Mr. Carey moves on to compare population decline similarities between California and Maryland. Although Maryland is losing citizens at a lower rate than California is currently ranked as 50th, Maryland is not far behind at 44th. This information comes from U-Haul annual statistics from one-way rentals. The citizens we are losing in Maryland are the wealthiest citizens, leaving the middle class and low-income earners to pay Maryland’s tax and spend policies. This is all data, this is not an opinion or partisan, it is showing an alarming trend. Maryland is accelerating the trends when compared to prior years.

Personal income and corporate tax rates are in line with California. The good news is that our sales tax is holding steady, but guess what our legislators are looking at? Sales tax first came the IT sales tax, but we are going to see more and more of this type of legislation. Keep an eye for this in upcoming Maryland legislation.

The big issue for Maryland is our death taxes, we are the only state that has both estate and inheritance taxes. However, the math to justify these taxes does not work. As a state we clearly lose citizens due to this issue. As Mr. Carey explains, most states have discovered that death taxes are a really dumb idea. Apparently, Maryland Accountants advise their clients to leave Maryland to avoid these taxes! Unfortunately, our legislators have not received the memo.

Maryland has both inheritance and estate death taxes, the only state in the union.

Mr. Carey’s slides can be viewed here:

Mr. Carey’s 20-minute presentation can be viewed here.

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