Ehrlich to discuss business agenda
Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. will soon unveil a plan that he says will help Maryland's small-business sector. At a campaign stop Wednesday, the Republican candidate told a group of Carroll County business owners that he will announce "major initiatives" in the next seven to 10 days.
Ehrlich is trying to unseat Gov. Martin O'Malley, the Democrat who ousted him four years ago, in part by convincing voters that Maryland's business climate has suffered under the current administration. O'Malley argues that he has fought to retain and create jobs in a terrible national economic downturn. Maryland's unemployment rate, while higher than in previous years, has stayed below the national average.
Ehrlich told the supportive Carroll County group, gathered at Dean's, a family-owned restaurant in Hampstead, that he would work to make state regulators more understanding and reachable. He said many employers have complained of regulators who seem "out to get them," a comment that prompted the half-dozen in the room to nod vigorously.
Ehrlich also repeated his pledge to repeal the penny-per-dollar sales tax increase that O'Malley signed into law, and he again criticized the state's corporate tax rate, which he says is too high.
His small-business plan, Ehrlich told reporters after the event, includes a mix of policies that worked during his 2003-2007 term as governor, the successful practices of other states and ideas culled from campaign stops like the one in Hampstead. He declined to provide specifics, saying he was saving them for the official announcement, which he said would likely be at a small business.