The Brown Ulman Compact with Maryland Business

If we are to ensure economic prosperity and build a stronger Middle Class in Maryland, we must start by growing and strengthening our economy. Creating jobs in Maryland, for Marylanders, and building the most competitive workforce available to private sector employers across every industry sector must be a top priority. Experience shows that the vast majority of jobs are created in the private sector. Accordingly, the public sector, in partnership with the private sector, must help create a business climate that attracts and encourages the private sector to invest in job creating activities right here in Maryland.

Maryland’s economy already demonstrates considerable strengths — with industry leaders in agriculture, aerospace, sports apparel, cyber security, and hospitality — and boasts one of the most talented and skilled workforces in the nation. Our skilled workforce is the result of the long-standing commitment to public education, recent historic investments in our public schools, and the quality, accessibility and affordability of our outstanding public colleges and universities.

However, Maryland businesses compete not only nationally, but also globally. If we are to compete successfully, we must continue to look at every aspect of our business ecosystem to create an even more competitive business climate. There are many who believe that Maryland’s business climate does not promote business growth and development, while others contend that it does. While Maryland’s economy ranks #1 in innovation and entrepreneurship, we rank only 43rd in business climate in at least one survey.

Instead of debating whether Maryland has a so-called “business friendly” climate or is hostile to business, Ken Ulman and I believe the more productive approach is to forge a stronger partnership between the public and private sectors. Through this partnership, we will identify our strengths and weaknesses, find ways to improve Maryland’s business climate, and encourage private sector investments in job creating activities here in Maryland. This should be our goal, regardless of where Maryland’s economy currently ranks.

We look forward to the weeks, months and years ahead, as we build the most competitive business climate in the nation.


Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown

To download a PDF version of this plan, click here.

Our Goal: Establish the #1 Competitive Business Climate State in the Nation 

Strategic Goal #1:  Under the Brown Ulman Administration, we will position Maryland as THE most competitive business climate state in the nation.

We will establish a more competitive business climate that attracts, retains, and grows businesses in our state and encourages private investment in Maryland.  We will build on our highly-skilled, competitive workforce and outstanding and affordable colleges and universities, while at the same time fostering our commitment to protecting Maryland’s consumers, workers, and environment.

Creating a more competitive business climate involves more than just a competitive workforce and outstanding schools, colleges and universities.  There are many criteria, factors and metrics that shape our business climate and influence the business decision to invest in Maryland.  In many of these areas, Maryland is already competitive; in others, less so.  We believe that the following represent some of the most important areas of focus to improve our business climate:

Tax Liability: Reform our tax code to ensure that it reflects our current economy, enables state and local government to adequately fund our shared priorities, and encourages job generating investments in Maryland.

Regulatory and Licensing Requirements:  Streamline our regulatory and licensing requirements to reduce the cost and improve compliance while continuing to safeguard the public and private interests and activities that are regulated.

Cost and Reliability of Energy:  Promote the cost-effective generation of energy and improve the reliable delivery of energy through the grid to businesses and residents while transitioning to more sustainable energy sources.

Cost of Living: Expand access to affordable housing and healthcare, healthy food options and cost-effective transportation to create a reasonable cost of living for all Maryland families.

Reliable and Predictable Legal System:  Provide a civil justice system that allows deserving individuals to get justice and hold wrongdoers accountable while ensuring that awards are fair and equitable.

Small Business Access to Working Capital: Ensure all viable Maryland small- and medium-sized businesses have access to affordable capital by working with lenders and businesses to maintain a strong environment for growth.

Quality of the Workforce: Invest in secondary and post-secondary education and skills training, while facilitating dialogue between public and private education and the Maryland business community that allows our education system to adapt quickly to new skill requirements demanded by the market, for now and the future..

Quality of Life:  Improve public transportation, public education, public safety, public health and public spaces and art in communities throughout Maryland while ensuring the public expenditures are within spending affordability guidelines and are made in a fiscally responsible manner.

Infrastructure: Develop, redevelop and maintain Maryland’s transportation and non-transportation infrastructure through traditional and innovative financing and investments while ensuring the investments are within debt affordability guidelines and do not jeopardize the State’s AAA bond rating.

Our Commitment:

We will work in partnership with all public and private stakeholders in Maryland to develop a set of metrics that will guide the decisions, policies and initiatives of the Brown Ulman Administration.  Working with employers and investors, labor organizations and consumer advocates, environmental groups and industry, we will commit to the goal of creating jobs in Maryland.  We will forge consensus around the metrics to be used and the weight to be given to each.  We will then work in partnership to drive the metrics in pursuit of our goal.

Maryland’s Current Rankings

There are many areas in which Maryland currently excels, ranking first in innovation and entrepreneurship, research and development investment [1],  and quality public schools[2].    In fact, Entrepreneur Magazine named Maryland the best place to start a business[3].

Maryland’s unemployment rate is consistently lower than the national average[4]

Maryland Unemployment Rate

This is partly because we have one of the most skilled and educated workforces in the country,[5] and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls Maryland’s talent pipeline the third best out of 50 states.[6]

Bachelor’s and Associate degrees awarded in Maryland have steadily increased since 2007 [7]

Bachelors and Associates Degrees Awarded

At the same time Maryland is given a C+ for its licensing requirement and a B+ for its regulations.[8] The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Maryland 43rd for business climate,[9] while the Kauffman Foundation ranks Maryland 38th in small business friendliness.[10]  The Chief Executive Group ranks us only the 41st best state for business.[11]

Competitive Business Climate Tour

To help forge this compact we will launch a business climate tour.  We will visit every region of the state, talking to business leaders across a variety of industries about how Maryland can create a better business climate.  Our focus will be on business climate and not necessarily on specific industry performance.  We’ll share our strategic goal and metrics and discuss strategies and plans to improve our business climate.

Business Advisory Group

To achieve our purpose, we will assemble a diverse group of business leaders from every region of Maryland, encompassing a broad cross-section of industries and business sizes. These leaders will help guide our efforts on the campaign and in a Brown Ulman Administration, and their experience and involvement will assist us as we make Maryland’s business climate the most competitive in the nation.



[1]2012 State Technology and Science Index.” Milken Institute, 4/13
[2] “State Report Cards.” Education Week, 1/12/12
[3] “Md.s rankings for business climate all over the place.” Associated Press, 6/8/13
[4] Bureau of Labor Statistics figures
[5] “Social Characteristics.” US Community Survey, US Census Bureau
[6] “Enterprising States Report.” US Chamber of Commerce
[7] “Education.” StateState
[8] “2013 Small Business Survey.” Kauffman Foundation, 2013
[9] “Enterprising States Report.” US Chamber of Commerce
[10] “2013 Small Business Survey.” Kauffman Foundation, 2013
[11] “2013 Best and Worst States for Business.” Chief Executive Group, 5/6/13


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