All talk and no walk [Letter]

March 28, 2014

The "pro-business" agenda outlined by our legislative leaders brings to mind what psychologists call the "Eddie Haskell syndrome" ("A plan for building Maryland's economy," March 24).

Named after the "Leave it to Beaver" character, this syndrome refers to the two different facets of our personalities – the person we are behind closed doors and the person we wish the public to think we are.

The analogy fits Maryland's legislative leaders, who govern one way in Annapolis but pretend to have governed another way when they seek re-election. Despite Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch's newfound affection for Maryland's business community, these facts persist:

Under their leadership, Maryland's business climate ranking has plummeted from 22nd in 2006 to 41st in the nation today. They have enacted more than $10 billion in new taxes since 2007, nearly all of which negatively impact employers.

Our neighboring jurisdictions, with which we compete for employers, openly joke of their good fortune of being located next to Maryland. In 2011, D.C. City Councilman Jack Evans reportedly told his colleagues, "Thank God Maryland keeps raising taxes."

Messrs. Busch and Miller have been running their respective legislative chambers for a combined 40 years. No two public officials have had greater influence on our long-term economic policy than these two. That they need a commission to help them understand the needs of our employers after all this time should speak volumes to Maryland's business leaders about the legislature's sincerity.

June Cleaver was never fooled by Eddie Haskell's sweet talk. One wonders whether Messrs. Busch and Miller will have better luck with Maryland's business-minded voters.

Christopher B. Summers, Rockville

The writer is president of the Maryland Public Policy Institute.

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