Md. busi­ness fo­rum casts a wary eye on Wash­ing­ton

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Mered­ith Cohn mered­ith.cohn@balt­ twit­­cohn

A quar­ter of Mary­land’s econ­omy de­pends on fed­eral spend­ing, in­ex­tri­ca­bly link­ing the state to ac­tions that Con­gress and the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion are now con­sid­er­ing on health care, taxes and all other bud­get items, a trio of ex­perts told lo­cal busi­ness lead­ers Thurs­day.

“The hard re­al­ity is, what goes on in Wash­ing­ton has a tremen­dous im­pact on our abil­ity to pros­per and grow,” War­ren G. Deschenaux, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Mary­land De­part­ment of Leg­isla­tive Ser­vices, said at the Greater Bal­ti­more Com­mit­tee an­nual eco­nomic out­look con­fer­ence in Bal­ti­more.

Deschenaux said that Mary­land dis­pro­por­tion­ately ben­e­fits from fed­eral salaries, con­tracts, grants and other money al­lo­cated in Wash­ing­ton and un­der re­view. Un­cer­tainty hangs over the state as law­mak­ers con­sider changes to the Af­ford­able Care Act that could in­clude re­duc­tions for Med­i­caid and tax re­form that could lower the cor­po­rate tax rate and end pop­u­lar in­di­vid­ual and busi­ness de­duc­tions, he said.

Mary­land takes in about $102 bil­lion a year in fed­eral money, rep­re­sent­ing about 28 per­cent of the state econ­omy, he said. Fur­ther, about 8 per­cent of the work­force is fed­eral, com­pared with 3 per­cent na­tion­ally

With 2018 midterm elec­tions loom­ing, the health care de­bate isn’t likely to end, though re­peal ef­forts have been un­suc­cess­ful so far, said Paul Keck­ley, health econ­o­mist and lead­ing expert on U.S. health in­dus­try trends and re­form.

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