Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Douglas F. Gansler on Thursday released a 30-point plan to boost job creation in Maryland, saying the state has to both modernize its workforce and do more to support existing businesses.
“This plan is built around one core truth: Maryland needs more jobs,” Gansler, the state’s attorney general, said at a news conference at Baltimore’s shuttered Bethlehem Steel plant, where he was joined by several workers who had lost their livelihoods.
Gansler has sought to distinguish himself as the pro-business candidate in the Democratic primary, and his plan calls for a wide array of policy changes and new programs, some spelled out in more detail than others. The plan is more comprehensive than anything released to date by other candidates.
Gansler would discount tuition for college degrees leading to jobs in high-demand fields such as cybersecurity and health care. He would promote the use of existing tax breaks available to small businesses and create a commission to review how effective they are.
And Gansler promises, among other things, an aggressive recruitment campaign to get more people in the trucking profession in order to address current and projected shortages of drivers. The shortages threaten companies with products to export, he says.
Several proposals in his package had been previously advertised, most notably Gansler’s plan to gradually reduce Maryland’s corporate income tax rate from 8.25 percent to 6 percent, to match Virginia’s.
Gansler’s two leading primary opponents — Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery) — have been critical of that idea, saying it would sap too much revenue from the state treasury. Gansler contends it would attract more business and expand the state’s tax base.
He also repackaged several ideas meant to boost manufacturing in Maryland and included his support for raising the state’s minimum wage as part of his plan. And Gansler touts a proposal highlighted earlier in the campaign to build a plant that converts chicken waste into energy.
Gansler spokesman Bob Wheelock said the cost of Gansler’s plan would be $68 million if all 30 provisions were enacted in his first year as governor.
Gansler’s titled his plan “Fighting For You: Jobs For All Maryland,” echoing a theme he is increasing pushing in a race where polls show him trailing Brown.
“Every day in Annapolis, I will fight for the people of Maryland,” he said his news conference. “I will not accept the way things are.”