VA's McDonnell and MD's O'Malley: A Contrast in Conservative vs. Liberal Leadership
Recent news reports out of Virginia and Maryland couldn’t be more stark: Virginia is growing jobs and running a surplus for a second year in a row, while Maryland continues to struggle with yet another billion-dollar deficit and proposals to raise even more taxes.
What explains the difference between the two states? It’s pretty simple: Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell (R) has cut government spending, reduced regulations, championed the state’s right to work laws, and helped to end uncertainty for job creators. Maryland’s Martin O’Malley (D) has consistently called for higher taxes and more government “stimulus” spending. As a recent Washington Examiner column put it:
“[T]he governors' diverging fortunes today are not the result of lucky -- or unlucky -- timing. They were preordained by statewide policies they themselves pursued. In 2007, O'Malley pushed through a $1.4 billion tax increase, the largest in Maryland history. His ‘millionaire's tax’ failed to raise more revenue, but did succeed in driving many wealthy taxpayers out of the state.
“In contrast, McDonnell cut spending to eliminate a $4.2 billion budget deficit without raising taxes and defeated a $2 billion state income tax increase proposal. Today, O'Malley's state still faces a $1.1 billion shortfall for 2013. Virginia has a budget surplus.
“The Old Dominion has also surged past the Old Line State in a number of independent business-friendly rankings, including CNBC's and the latest Pollina Corporate Real Estate study, both of which named Virginia the ‘Best State for Business,’ no doubt leading to Northrop Grumman's decision to relocate its corporate headquarters across the Potomac River.”
The Washington Times noted in an editorial that:
“Maryland is still reeling from the effect of the 2007 special session’s $1.4 billion tax increase. The Tax Foundation last year ranked the state a dismal 44 in terms of business-tax climate and noted that ‘highest-in-the-nation county-level income taxes’ contributed to this burden. Virginia fared much better at number 12. Virginia also enjoyed a Top 10 ranking from Chief Executive magazine’s report on the best states for business, while Maryland came in at a lackluster 37.
“There is an element of subjectivity in any ranking system, but objective data tell the same tale. In the past decade, Maryland’s absolute domestic migration counted a loss of 100,000 people. Virginia, by contrast, picked up 175,000. That’s a very real vote of confidence for a state that’s right-to-work and low-tax and has a governor committed to improving the state’s fiscal management.”
Governor McDonnell’s leadership in Virginia has demonstrated that getting government out of the way of the private sector can help create jobs and get our economy moving again – policies House Republicans are fighting for right here in Washington. This weekend, another reform-minded Governor, John Kasich of Ohio, will deliver the Weekly Republican Address and will discuss his success in closing the largest budget shortfall in Ohio’s history without raising taxes offers lessons for Democrat-run Washington. Be sure to tune in!