The Maryland Democratic Party has issued a press release supporting gubernatorial candidate Valerie Ervin’s effort to be included on the ballot. We reprint the release below.
Monthly Archives: May 2018
Joel Rubin’s Video
Balcombe: I Want My Daughter to Always Call MoCo Home
Brooks and Wilhelm Release Joint Video
Marc Elrich: “I Prefer to Put Jobs in Frederick”
By Adam Pagnucco.
Yesterday, Greater Greater Washington (GGW) wrote a long essay about Council Member Marc Elrich, who is running for Executive. GGW has many disagreements with Elrich about smart growth and housing and mostly concentrated on those issues. But the essay contained this quote from an interview with Elrich.
Broadly, Elrich isn’t convinced Montgomery County needs to add many new homes or residents, or jobs. Many people with jobs in Bethesda or DC are now living in Frederick County and other outlying areas and driving through Montgomery to get to work. We asked Elrich what he’d do for these folks, and his answer was, “I prefer to put jobs in Frederick.” He’d encourage the growth of both households and jobs to happen there, and in Prince George’s County, and elsewhere.
Elrich has disputed quotes before and we will see if he disputes this one. But if the quote is accurate… well.
The chart below uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to compare growth in total employment in Frederick and MoCo from 2001 through 2016.
Frederick’s job creation record is clearly better than MoCo’s in both absolute and relative terms.
Now let’s use BLS data to compare growth in establishment counts in the two counties.
Frederick beats MoCo in growth rate and, over the last decade, in net new establishment count too.
Let’s bear in mind the relative size of the two counties. Frederick has about a quarter of MoCo’s population. Yet, Frederick has created a larger absolute number of jobs over the last fifteen years than MoCo and had a net gain since 2006 while MoCo had a net loss. In terms of establishments, Frederick created more than double what MoCo did over the last decade despite being much smaller.
Now let’s recall the research we did three weeks ago on taxpayer migration. MoCo is often compared to Fairfax, but the truth is that we have lost more taxpayer income to Frederick than to Fairfax over the last decade.
Between 2006 and 2016, MoCo had a net outmigration of $582 million in real adjusted gross income to Frederick.
The greatest losses to Frederick occurred during MoCo’s home price boom of 2002 through 2007. MoCo home prices are rising again so let’s connect the economic dots. Suppose we cut off housing construction in the ways Elrich described to Greater Greater Washington. Unless there is a recession – which would bring a different set of problems – a housing shutdown in MoCo would cause more home price and rent hikes, exacerbating our already oppressive cost of living and pushing some folks into Frederick. Once in Frederick, some of those people would start businesses, hire people and create more economic activity there. That’s great for Frederick and it’s part of the explanation for the growth they have seen in the last fifteen years. But what exactly does that do for us?
Look, folks – with surging needs in schools, transportation and everything else and with maxed out county debt, we have a lot of bills to pay. There are two ways to do it. Option one is to grow our commercial tax base and create jobs, thereby generating more tax revenue. Option two is more big tax hikes which will further strain the cost of living.
If we have a County Executive who is fighting to put jobs in Frederick and NOT in MoCo, which option do you think our county will pick?
Disclosure: the author supports Roger Berliner for Executive.
Bill Frick’s End the Monopoly Insert
Berliner Blasts Blair in TV Ad
On “Those Good Union Jobs” at the Department of Liquor Control
MCGEO has done quite a number on county residents. When discussing the hot issue of privatization of Montgomery County’s liquor monopoly, politicians automatically express concern about the potential loss of those “good union jobs.”
People would be a lot less sympathetic to the idea of protecting liquor store or distributor employees. Why on earth should we maintain an antiquated, inefficient monopoly to protect their jobs but not spend money to protect the grocery store cashier or bank teller threatened by automation?
What makes all the angst about losing “good union jobs” even more galling is that private liquor distributors are unionized by the Teamsters – a little fact that never seems to get mentioned in all the handwringing.
Privatization doesn’t threaten union jobs. It threatens union jobs that pay dues to MCGEO. So MCGEO President Gino Renne, who was paid $196,700 by his local union and an additional $20,000 by his international union last year, is naturally quite concerned. As Gino likes to say, “Just keeping it real.”
Sadly, no one seems concerned about all these Teamsters Union jobs lost due to the monopoly depriving them of a livelihood. Not to mention the restaurant jobs lost because of extra costs that make it harder to turn a profit and frustration with the Department of Liquor Control that stops businesses from opening or expanding in Montgomery.
The other unasked question is why does the DLC perform so poorly if these jobs are so great? Service at DLC stores is variable at best and most employees are unfamiliar with their product. Beyond the stories about the DLC failing to deliver product at key moments, such as right before New Year’s, I’ve also heard about the DLC dumping shipments in the middle of the bar during happy hour.
It’s almost as if Ernestine left the phone company once Ma Bell was broken up and sought refuge at the DLC. “We’re the DLC, we don’t have to care.”
It’s not as if the DLC is understaffed. Somehow, Montgomery County-based Total Wine manages to keep in stock and much better organized a far greater range of product. They do it with fewer employees who yet also seem to know about the product that they’re selling and are more likely in my experience to provide good customer service. Other stores do the same.
Similarly, I’d like to know the share of DLC workers who live in Montgomery County. While some might argue that this is irrelevant, why must Montgomery County citizens keep in place a costly system to subsidize workers who don’t even live here? Even this question has totally lost the plot as government should not be a make-work program but should provide services to residents.
Councilmembers defend the DLC because it brings in money to the county. It would be a miracle if a monopoly on booze in the DC area did not. The sad truth is that it brings in far less than it might. The amount of beer and spirits sold per capita in Montgomery is lower than almost all other jurisdictions in Maryland as well as the Virginia suburbs. Does anyone seriously believe that we drink phenomenally less than people in Fairfax? Greater efficiency would also increase profit. Couldn’t we just tax alcohol and try to grow the economic pie instead of clinging desperately on to a stagnant unloved system?
None of this means that we shouldn’t pay county employees decent wages or we should just chuck the DLC workers out of a job. But nor should taxpayers be obligated to maintain a system that doesn’t work and myopically hurts the economy in perpetuity.
It’s time to call the question and end this outdated monopoly.
Johnny O: Free Community College is Overdue
Friedson: Ease the Squeeze
By Adam Pagnucco.
Council District 1 candidate Andrew Friedson has sent out a mailer discussing the need to “Ease the Squeeze” in Montgomery County. Friedson writes:
We’ve all felt the Montgomery County Squeeze. It’s the squeeze on families facing higher living and childcare costs despite stagnant wages, on commuters stuck in the second worst traffic congestion in the country, and on parents whose kids are squeezed in overcrowded schools. It’s the squeeze on young workers and new families who can no longer afford to live here, and on seniors struggling to maintain a quality home and a dignified livelihood without the support they need to get by.
Montgomery County is a special place, but we can’t afford to ignore the change that’s happening all around us because it’s putting the squeeze on all of us.
I’m running for County Council to Ease the Montgomery County Squeeze with forward-focused leadership dedicated to growing a modern economy so we can make our community more attractive to move here and more affordable to stay here.
This is Friedson’s core campaign message. Will it work?