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Hogan misleads on Md. economy

Can we believe Larry Hogan's claims about Maryland's economy? Nope.

Larry Hogan's main campaign pitch is that under Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, "excessive taxes … have poisoned the business climate" resulting in "lost businesses, jobs, and taxpayers at an alarming rate," ("Hogan, Brown clash on education, economy, environment," Oct. 18). MIchael Dresser previously reported in The Sun that Mr. Hogan fibbed about the loss of Fortune 500 companies. But we can believe Mr. Hogan about his other economic claims, right? Well maybe not.

On taxes, in the last year of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s term (2006), state tax collections in Maryland accounted for 5.8 percent of the state's total gross domestic product. Seven years later (2013), with the proliferation of "excessive taxes" under O'Malley-Brown, this tax share had dropped to 5.5 percent. By 2013, these "excessive taxes" ranked Maryland below 22 other states in share of state GDP going to state taxes.

On real GDP growth, Mr. Hogan only cites a single number — Maryland's 0 percent growth in 2013. He does not note that over the post-recession years of 2010-2013, our growth has been almost 50 percent faster than that of our low-tax neighbor Virginia (which also has been heavily affected by federal job cuts in D.C.).

Republican base voters in the primary may be satisfied with candidates running campaigns that are largely fact-free on their main economic themes, but the voters of Maryland as a whole deserve more information and less disinformation from our November gubernatorial candidates about our state's economic performance. And the media should hold them to a higher standard on this as well.

David Salkever, Baltimore

The writer is a professor in the Department of Public Policy at University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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