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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sharp Divergence In Maryland Counties' Job Growth, Economic Performance

Annapolis, MD - Change Maryland issued a report today that shows how each of the state's 24 jurisdictions are performing on job growth. The report comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics quarterly report on employment released last week.

Analyzing employment trends since 2007, Worcester County has emerged as the clear leader attracting jobs. Since 2007, the county has increased employment levels just over 50%, a remarkable gain of over 10,000 jobs in the five-year period. The county's property tax rate is among the lowest of any of the state's 24 jurisdictions, while the local income tax is the lowest.

"The county with the lowest taxes is attracting the most jobs and generating the most economic activity," said Change Maryland Chairman Larry Hogan. "We need only look to our own backyard for yet more proof that lower taxes lead to economic prosperity."

A separate Change Maryland report issued last summer showed that Worcester County increased its individual income tax base more than any other county. In the most recent Internal Revenue Service data, Worcester increased its tax base just over 2% as measured by net gross incomes flowing into the jurisdiction.

Hogan also noted that Worcester enjoys bipartisan government at the county commission level.

“One-party monopoly rule - whether at the state or county level – is leading to economic stagnation, lost jobs and overall decline," said Hogan. "Bipartisan governance, on the other hand, enables a robust debate on tax and fiscal policy that is missing on the state level and in our largest jurisdictions."

The correlation between high local tax burdens is also made clear by looking at the worst-performing jurisdiction. Baltimore City's property tax rate is the highest in the state and double the average. The local income tax rate is also the highest. Its loss of nearly 9600 jobs since 2007 is the worst decline of any Maryland jurisdiction. IRS numbers also show Baltimore City leading the state in tax flight.

A BLS analysis measures the nation's 328 largest counties in year-over-year job growth. By that measure, Anne Arundel County is leading the state, with an employment gain of 3.6% from 2011 to 2012, the 27th highest growth rate among large counties. Prince George's and Baltimore City, with flat employment growth, garnered the 288th and 280th spots, respectively, in terms of growth rates, far below other large U.S. counties.

County employment and wage data are compiled under the Bureau's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program, which produces detailed information on local employment after each quarter.

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