How To Fund My Proposals

Introduction:

Each of the policies I discuss in my “Relief, Recovery, Reform” platform are investments in the residents of Maryland.

Part of this means to be held accountable for promised revenue streams (ex. if we promise that funds from slots will be used for our education systems, we must ensure that money actually gets allocated appropriately).

Part of this means we include the voices of community activists and groups in the budget process (before, during AND after).

And part of this means increasing revenue streams for our state by keeping people in our state and encouraging more to move into our state. Below are some specific ways we can accomplish this:

SHORT TERM

(1) Legalize Commercial Use & Taxation of Marijuana

Our state legalized medical marijuana in 2014, but sales only started in 2017 through roughly 85 licensed dispensaries. Revenue has surpassed expectations by bringing in upwards of $100 million.

States like Colorado have taken in more than $1 billion since they commercialized it in 2014. By legalizing the commercial sale of marijuana, we would be able to generate millions of dollars to invest in the needs of our state.

Additionally, by beginning/increasing cultivation to arable land in locations like Frederick county, the Upper Eastern Shore and even urban farms in Baltimore City, we can increase revenues for those local economies, boost our agriculture sector and increase our state’s financial future.

(2) Increase Fossil Fuel fee

As per a 2020 proposed bill in the House of Delegates (sponsored by Delegates Fraser-Hidalgo and Kramer), I believe we should establish a gradually escalating fossil fuel fee — starting at $15/ton CO2 for non-transportation sources, and $10/ton CO2 for transportation sources.

There should be no cap on the fee, but instead, an increase of $5/year until the net emissions from fossil fuels are zero. Additionally, we should include a “no pass-through provision” that prohibits fossil fuel companies from passing this cost on to Maryland citizens.

According to the most recent projections, this could result in revenues of $3.5 billion in the first five years.

(3) Everyone pays their fair share

We must ensure that out-of-state corporations doing business in Maryland pay their fair share in taxes on goods shipped into our state. A new analysis from the Maryland Center on Economic Policy shows that closing these loopholes and special interest tax breaks would have generated $2.8B in revenue between 2014–2018.

(4) Digital Ad Tax on Large Companies

While we cannot solely rely on tax increases to strengthen our economic recovery, we need to ensure large companies are paying their fair share.

As such, I supported the recently passed bill (sponsored by Senator Bill Ferguson) that taxes those companies making more than $100 million a year on revenues generated from their digital advertisements. This could generate more than $250 million a year.

(5) Sports Betting

While we should allow this in our state’s 6 casinos and at our professional sports venues, we need to ensure we are properly regulating this new industry and put a priority on bids submitted by minority-owned and women-owned companies.

(6) Casino Earnings

While earnings from our casinos generated over $540 million in 2019, we must use most of these funds to invest in Universal Pre-K and our public education system (as was the original intent).

(7) Lottery Revenues

Our state generated over $1.1 billion in 2020. We should use these funds to prioritize our marginalized communities.

(8) The Maryland Now Plan

As detailed HERE , this plan would:

  1. Eliminate the state income tax for 95% of Maryland workers
  2. Make Maryland the first state to guarantee free public transit for every resident
  3. Create the nation’s first Guaranteed Jobs Program for anyone struggling to find work

This plan will expand economic opportunities and inclusion for all Marylanders; assist those who either have a job or need a job; help our climate; create hundreds of thousands of new jobs; reduce some of the racial injustices we face; and improve the daily lives of residents in every county across the state.

LONG TERM

We cannot solely rely on tax increases to strengthen our economic recovery. I have outlined specific details in the Small Business section, but here are some highlights:

(1) Invest in the Employer

Through small business loans, branch banking, new enterprise/opportunity zones and workforce development, we can prop up employers that are understandably struggling to stay afloat during this pandemic.

(2) Invest in the Employee

By supporting measures such as collective bargaining and paid leave, we can allow employees to have safe working conditions, access to healthcare and livable wages, and help them become more productive.

(3) Invest in the Community

Through smart growth, investing in commerce centers, expanding public school apprenticeships, reforming our tax code, and prioritizing corporate-social responsibility, we can build back an economy that promotes innovation and allows for general prosperity.

(4) Focus on True Cost of Living

I believe we should also focus on looking at true costs of living to determine how best to help residents meet the basic needs of housing, food, transportation, childcare and other services.

As such, instead of calculating costs of living from a national Consumer Price Index (CPI), we should use a ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) method that is better able to calculate local costs. In doing so, we can better understand how much government assistance, tax credits, loans, grants and investments should be provided to families and individuals to help them live successful and healthy lives.

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_AshwaniJain

He/Him — Youngest person to run for MD Governor — Cancer Survivor — NKF — Obama White House/HUD/HHS