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CEOs' bottom states are actually the top

Big business and anti-tax groups have been making hay out of a story in CEO Magazine that ranked Maryland 41st in business climate. But look closely: a lot of the things that CEO Magazine says are holding states back are actually things you would want for yourself and your family.

Many of CEO Magazine's bottom-ranked states have the highest incomes, lowest poverty rates, and the best rates of health coverage and education attainment, including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Maryland.

In each of these quality of life indicators, CEO Magazine's bottom 10 states actually outperform their top 10. These are all things we want for ourselves and our families. We want to make a good living, to avoid poverty, for our kids to have a good education and to have access to health care.

When business managers focus solely on their bottom lines, they might choose to operate where they can get labor cheaply without being expected to provide basic benefits to employees. But this does little to help communities and families thrive.

The CEOs who choose low-wage, low-benefit states over the well-being of working people help to explain why workers are not the ones benefiting from increases in productivity and why nearly all of the benefits of economic growth go to the richest 1 percent.

CEO Magazine's kind of employment strategy is not what the people of Maryland want and need. Instead, we should continue to focus on attracting and retaining jobs that can support our families and on maintaining our high standards for education and quality of life.

Neil L. Bergsman, Baltimore

The writer is director of the Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute.

Copyright © 2015, CT Now
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