Recap: Economic Development Member Exchange Meeting - Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Posted Date: 
April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015 Recap 

Guest Speaker: Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Topic: Maryland's fiscal climate, tax revenue impact, and economic opportunities

Stew Edelstein introduced Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is a longtime friend of MCCC. He began by remarking on how the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has tremendous traction in Annapolis and how he learns a lot from sessions with business people.

He was joined by Joe Shapiro who serves as an omsbudsman in the office to help customers cut through red tape.

The Comptroller focused his comments on three main areas: tax season, the current legislative session, his work on the Board of Public Works and the importance of financial literacy.

Unlike at the Federal level, tax collection in Maryland is smooth. Even with a budget cut of 6%, the department is able to process returns in 2.1 business days.  The department is focused on customer service and being vigilant on staying current with fraud protection.

When asked who is winning in Annapolis, the Comptroller argued that the people of Maryland are losing as the economy still needs improvement.  We need policies that help get the economy moving.  The main problems are a lack of jobs, lack of wage growth and lack of confidence among the small business community.

The Comptroller agrees with the many articles in the Washington Post that are critical of the raiding of the pension fund as it adds to the obligation that tax payers will have to pay.

The Board of Public Works, made up of the Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer, is unique in the country. Franchot said that the Board will be doing the work that is necessary to get the State on track.  The economy is flat and revenues are flat and he will continue to advocate for a moratorium on no new taxes or regulations in order to repair the State’s reputation.

The last point he made was the importance of financial literacy and his goal of having high school students pass a course in financial literacy prior to graduation.

In answer to questions from the attendees, the Comptroller was optimistic about some kind of approval for the Purple Line and was generally favorable toward Public Private Partnerships.  He stressed how we need to be smart about how we spend money and this will likely lead to an administrative overhaul of the procurement process.

His main goal in his work is to restore stability and predictability and focus on better management of the assets we have.

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