Declaring that Americans are "seeing most disturbing reaction to free enterprise since the industrial revolution began," Washington businessman J.W. Marriot Jr. yesterday called on taxpayers and business leaders to revolt.
In a speech delivered to the Ameriquences of their actions." A copy of vention in St. Louis, the Marriott Corp. chief executive said citizens should "revolt against far more government than we need. Or Deserve. Or Want. Or will stand for. Or will pay for."
The speech was the first time Marriott had spoken out on national issues in a formal presentation. He became president of Washington-based Marriott in 1964 at the age of 32 and, in 1972, was named chief executive of the lodging and restaurant firm, whose sales now exceed $1 billion a year.
The Washington native said yesterday he decided to speak out "for the first time in my own business career . . . in protest," because of "an inability or unwillingness among public leaders to consider the true consequences of their actions." A copy of his speech was made available here.
Marriott had particularly harsh words for leaders in Howard County, who twice rejected his company's proposals to build an amusement park there. And the "entire national economy is being affected (because) business profits, investment, new and even existing jobs are being drained away as politics, unions, and special interests grab the spotlight," Marriott declared.
Although Marriott did not mention Howard County by name, there was no doubt about his target in yesterday's speech. The theme park Marriott Corp. had planned there would have cost $90 million and would have been "like nothing in the entire East - except for Disney World in Florida," have declared.
The park would have employed more than 2,500 teenagers in the summer, added more than $10 million in taxes for the county during its initial decade and would have supported Maryland efforts to attract tourism dollars.
But Marriott said, "environmentalists and no-growth camps rose up in almost a knee-jerk reaction . . . the State ducked out the back door . . . the project went down in flames."
Among other issues singled out by Marriott were the following:
An increased federal minimum wage which "particularly penalizes the very people it is supposed to help, unskilled workers - especially minorities, women and youth."
The proposed Labor Law Reform Act, which he said would be highly inflationary by forcing unionization of small businesses.
President Carter's proposed reduction in deductions for business-related entertaining of customers.