Anthony Brown’s Corporate Giveaways
Throughout his campaign to succeed his boss, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, has consistently criticized plans to cut Maryland’s corporate income tax as a “corporate giveaway.”
Brown’s characterization of a tax cut (corporate or personal) as “giveaway” is an intellectual stolen base.
A tax cut is not a “giveaway,” it is government limiting itself from taking even more moneyfrom the corporation or individuals who earned it themselves. To label a tax cut a giveaway presumes that the money already belongs to the government, not to those who earned it.
Apparently, Anthony Brown believes your money already belongs to the government.
And therein lies the rub. Anthony Brown, as part of the O’Malley-Brown administration has been giving away your money (taxpayer funded subsidies, loans, and grants) to corporations for the last eight years.
Here are just a few examples:
- Media Rights Capital (i.e., House of Cards) has received 11.6 million in taxpayer subsidies so far for its first season and is eligible for up to $30 million for seasons two and three according to data from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. The HBO series Veep is eligible for $22.6 million for its four seasons. Note the delicious irony of Anthony Brown having already given away $3.4 million in taxpayer dollars to the show about an inept second in command!
- Bechtel Power Corporation received a $9.5 million low cost loan from the state in return for keeping some jobs in Frederick, after the company decided to move its headquarters to Virginia.
- The O’Malley-Brown administration gave General Motors $3 million for a new production facility in White Marsh.
- The politically connected developers of the State Center project received $127 million in taxpayer subsidies despite the O’Malley-Brown administration’s violation of state procurement laws, in handpicking the developers Indeed, it was Anthony Brown, who led the charge to pass legislation that would have killed the lawsuit.
Good Jobs First, which tracks state subsidies has a an extensive but not thorough database of Maryland’s corporate giveaways. According to their data, the O’Malley-Brown administration, through the Department of Business and Economic Development, has given away $172 million in subsidies to corporate welfare. Here’s there list of top recipients of corporate giveaways, which includes local subsidies.
Good Jobs First’s list does not include other agency subsidies like the Maryland Clean Energy Grant programs for commercial and individuals or the clean energy production tax credit. Residents of Baltimore City and Montgomery County can also research how the amount, and recipients of taxpayer largesse bestowed by their local governments.
Brown argues that lowering the Maryland’s corporate income tax would cost $1.6 billion. However, revenue from the corporate income tax amounts to less than 5 percent of state revenue, according to data from the tax foundation.
Ending the subsidies alone won’t cure the state’s structural deficit. However, combining a significant reduction in the corporate income tax rate with an elimination the very corporate welfare dished by the O’Malley-Brown administration (and yes the Ehrlich administration) along with the resulting economic activity would go a long way to offsetting loss in revenue from cutting the corporate rate.
It would also create a fairer, more transparent, and less burdensome business tax climate.
However, don’t bet on that happening. Subsidies and other taxpayer-funded goodies are what allow our public rulers the power to pick winners and losers, and reward politically reliable corporate partners. Politicians like Anthony Brown aren’t in the habit of giving up power.