Job growth has been stagnant in Montgomery County over the past few years. What would you do to encourage increased job growth?
For far too long, our Council has been complacent with the status quo and at times even outright hostile to the private sector. Resting on the expectation of stable employment from the federal government, the Council has been largely indifferent and even averse to growing the private sector economy. We can no longer afford to talk about the need for job and wage growth and yet show no interest in facilitating business growth that creates those jobs. As Norm Augustine likes to say, “you can’t be for jobs and against employers.”
From our notorious permitting process to our burdensome tax policies, we need to stop treating small business as the enemy. Small businesses are the vital engine that will drive our middle class growth. We need to reorient our administration to recognize that being punitive to businesses isn’t actually in our interests.
We must also foster and facilitate growth and entrepreneurship. We benefit from an amazingly well-educated and creative workforce. But our women and men often find DC or Virginia or Baltimore to be more promising environments in which to grow and create businesses. I want to enhance access to capital by building on our programs to keep local and state dollars in the community banks that are most likely to lend to small businesses, like I did at the state level. And I will help jump-start our hospitality, service, and restaurant economy by reforming or eliminating the Department of Liquor Control, a broken system that has functioned as a repellent to restaurants and consumers alike. I led this fight in the legislature, and will win this fight as County Executive.