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Report gives Md. a 'D' for manufacturing health

An Indiana university said Monday that it gave Maryland a "D" for its manufacturing-industry health, adding that tax levels are likely a turnoff for companies in the sector.

Ball State University's Center for Business and Economic Research gave the state "D" grades for tax climate — particularly its individual income tax, unemployment insurance and property taxes — as well as for the state's global reach through exports and the health of its logistics industry. The best grade the university gave Maryland was a "B" for productivity and innovation, a measure that includes research-and-development activity and patents per capita.

Michael Hicks, director of the center, said in a statement that "the very poor fiscal climate in Maryland marks it as one of the states to be avoided by manufacturing firms with location choices."

The only state the center gave "A" marks for both the manufacturing-health and tax-climate categories was its home base of Indiana. The center prepared the report for Conexus Indiana, a group promoting advanced manufacturing in that state.

Takirra Winfield, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O'Malley, pointed to Indiana's grades and called the study "not very objective." She said the Federal Funds Information for States subscription service shows that, by percentage of income, Marylanders have the third-lowest state and local tax burden in the nation.

Virginia, a Maryland rival that often gets higher marks for its business climate, didn't fare a whole lot better in the report than its neighbor to the north. Virginia also received a "D" for its manufacturing health; it earned a "C" for tax climate.

Pennsylvania earned a "C" for its manufacturing health and a "D" for tax climate.

The report is online at http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/centersandinstitutes/bbr/currentstudiesandpublications.

jhopkins@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jsmithhopkins

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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