Thanks to constituents and friends across the region, I have been able to serve as a progressive voice in the Maryland General Assembly for over 25 years. This website allows me to share my views on both specific issues and my long term vision for the state. At the same time, I want to foster a dialogue and hear from you on these very same issues. We have worked to improve life for our state’s working and middle income people but we have much more to do. I encourage you to share your thoughts and opinions regarding these important issues through an email or phone call. I would like to be known not only as a leader, but a leader who listens. If you like what you see on my website, create a bookmark and forward a link to this web page to your friends and neighbors. Enjoy!
Annapolis Advocate Newsletter
Maryland should stop blatant corporate welfare
By Paul G. Pinsky April 22
Twenty-eight years ago, as a second-year lawmaker in Maryland, I lamented my state’s leap into the corporate welfare sweepstakes. Maryland had just lost a bidding war with Pennsylvania for New York’s Eastman Kodak. To “compete” more effectively in the future, the legislature established a “Sunny Day” fund for bankrolling more generous future subsidies.
This new fund, the Economic Development Opportunities Program Fund, came with an interesting twist. Cash from it could go to companies already located in Maryland. Just by threatening to exit Maryland, any corporation in the state could pick up sweet millions in state tax dollars.
Maryland corporations today don’t even have to bother making a threat to pick up cash from the Sunny Day fund. They just have to ask.
Northrop Grumman did just that. This month, Maryland’s Republican governor, with strong support from Maryland’s Democratic legislative majority, handed Northrop Grumman a $57.5 million tax-dollar giveaway that included a $20 million payout from the state’s trusty old Sunny Day fund.
Northrop Grumman has no plans to leave Maryland and throw Marylanders out of work.
“We aren’t going anywhere,” a company official told lawmakers in Annapolis this winter.
Northrop Grumman isn’t promising to create any new jobs in Maryland, either. Under the terms of this latest subsidy, the company has to maintain only 90 percent of its current 10,000 jobs in the state and invest $100 million in capital, which it was planning to do anyway. Northrop Grumman, in other words, could lay off 10 percent of its in-state workforce and still collect millions of tax dollars from the citizens of Maryland.
The ultimate irony here? The new subsidy package includes a provision for a “tax credit” — essentially a tax refund — for Northrop Grumman.
One state senator asked a Northrop Grumman executive how much in Maryland corporate income tax the company pays.
“It’s complicated,” came the reply. The official went on to describe the $100 million in property, payroll and other taxes Northrop Grumman paid last year — and never proffered a figure for the company’s state income tax liability.
The real answer seems obvious: Northrop Grumman, a corporate giant with $1.9 billion in profits last year, likely pays no corporate tax to Maryland. I suspect Northrop Grumman diverts its Maryland revenue to shell companies incorporated in other states.
So there you have it: Maryland taxpayers are giving $57.5 million to a company that isn’t threatening to leave the state, isn’t required to create additional jobs and, in all likelihood, isn’t paying its fair corporate tax share. What a deal!
How does the Democratic Party leadership of a historically blue state like Maryland — we haven’t had a Republican legislative majority in either chamber in nearly a century — justify a deal like this? Not very well.
On the state Senate floor, I asked lawmakers eager to help out Northrop Grumman an obvious question. If this deal went through, I wondered, how could we say no to the next corporate heavyweight that comes to us for a handout? No one had an answer.
It seems that some Democrats still haven’t gotten the message that the corporate-friendly, Republican-light path gains us nothing. Sharp critiques of corporate welfare are clearly resonating powerfully with large segments of our society, as the presidential candidacy of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) shows. Yet a strange tone-deafness has befallen our blue-state leaders.
With millions of Americans upset about corporate welfare, our leaders remain fixated on what amounts to socialism for the rich. Where could we be 28 more years down the road? I shudder to think.
The writer, a Democrat, represents Prince George’s County in the Maryland Senate.
Below are my endorsements for the upcoming election on April 26:For Delegate to the Democratic Convention and President:
Will the nominee for president be decided by April 26th? If, for example, Hillary Clinton has gathered enough delegates by then, should people still vote? Should supporters of Bernie Sanders still cast a vote for him?I believe the answer to these questions are ‘maybe’, ‘yes’ and ‘yes’.
The outpouring of support for Sen. Sanders clearly represents a desire to build a strong, clear, progressive wing within the Democratic Party — in selecting a nominee for president and beyond the election. He has clearly articulated the problem of the concentration of wealth in the hands of a very few and how this concentrated wealth has come to assert its will in politics, elections and Congress.
I will be a candidate for delegate to the Democratic National Convention from the 5th congressional district and I would appreciate your vote. While I am pledged to support Sen. Bernie Sanders for the very reason stated above (among others), I also ask those voters supporting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to save one of their delegate votes for me to ensure that a strong voice from the 22nd District attends the Philadelphia convention.Presidential Delegates: Paul Pinsky (Sanders) and all Sanders delegatesPresident: Bernie Sanders
(To volunteer for the Sanders Maryland campaign, click here.For U.S. SenateTwo strong candidates are running for the U.S. Senate: Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards. Having endorsed both for prior congressional elections, I am well aware of their strengths.
Despite their respective strengths, I will be voting for Chris Van Hollen. It’s true that I served with him in the Maryland Senate but my endorsement surpasses my personal friendship with Chris. He proved successful in the state Senate and in the U.S. Congress because of his expertise and knowledge in both policy and politics. Simply put, he is effective and gets things done. Chris Van Hollen served as an effective voice to counter Republicans in the House of Representatives. He would be even more effect in that role in the Senate.U.S. Senate: Chris Van Hollen
(To volunteer for the Van Hollen campaign, email Tyler Sterling at Tyler@vanhollen.org.For House of Representatives in the 4th DistrictThere are a large number of candidates seeking the nomination in the 4th district. I recommend voting for Glen Ivey. Glen is thoughtful and astute and served two terms as our county’s State’s Attorney. Additionally, he has a great deal of congressional experience having served as a chief-of-staff in Congress.House of Representatives (4th District): Glen IveyFor Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judges
There are four judicial seats up for election during this election. There are four judges currently sitting on the bench who have proven to be effect leaders in that role and they deserve to be returned to the bench.
All four have received high grades from those who practice law in the county courts and even the newest, Dorothy Engel, has had an exemplary career in the State’s Attorney’s office previously.
The two challengers have nowhere near the experience as the four ‘sitting judges’.
I will be supporting all four of the following sitting judges.
For Prince George’s Circuit Court Judges:
Hon. Herman Dawson
Hon. Dorothy Engel
Hon. Karen Mason
Hon. Erik Nyce
301-858-3155 (D.C. Metro area)
410-841-3155 (Balt. Metro area)
11 Bladen Street
220 James Senate Office Building
Annapolis, Maryland 21401-1990