Dana Beyer, MD

The key issue facing us this year is the need for Maryland to follow the lead of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to raise the minimum wage – again, this time to 15%. For too long America has been held hostage to the nonsensical Republican mantra that the minimum wage kills job growth. We’ve gone from an age of “welfare capitalists” like Henry Ford who raised wages, so his employees could afford the products they built, to a world of capitalists who build in China and Bangladesh, so they can sell their products to Americans who cannot afford better due to inadequate incomes when they happen to find work. The dignity of labor has been replaced by Black Friday mania. Paying a decent wage means less dependence on government and, therefore, the need to spend less for a social safety net.

  • A minimum wage of $15 an hour, with indexing, should be the starting point.
    • Better living wages should be required for government contracts.
      • The Earned Income Tax Credit should be expanded statewide.
        • Paid sick leave and family leave should be instituted, via the Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act.
          • Quality and affordable child care should be provided through tax breaks and subsidies; families cannot afford to spend 20% of their income on child care.
            • Personal tax rates need to become more progressive, including the reinstitution of the “millionaire” tax bracket. The amounts collected at that level are insignificant for the individual taxpayer but critical for the community.
              • Corporate tax loopholes, such as “combined reporting,” need to be closed.
                • Efforts should be made to attract tech entrepreneurs so that incubators develop along I-270 and I-95, around the established science and technology academic institutions and industries in suburban Maryland and Baltimore. This includes biotech, IT, robotics, machine learning, cyber security, transportation and drug development. Increased funding for InvestMaryland will help attract more young entrepreneurs.
                  • A partnership such like the Cornell-Technion Partnership being built in New York is a creative example of forward thinking. We should be attracting more foreign companies and investment.
                    • Efforts toward paycheck fairness for women need to be redoubled. It’s time the gap is closed.
                      • Affordable housing needs to be seriously addressed, including restraining rent increases, ordinances allowing eviction only with just cause, and Senate passage of the HOME Act, a law to prevent discrimination based on source of income.
                        • We need to bolster vocational training at the high school level, as well as coding classes for the next generation, whose world will be defined by machine learning and robotics.