Dinegar talks Maryland, Virginia competition

Jim Dinegar, the president and CEO of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, has a unique point of view on the Maryland vs. Virginia economic development battle because his constituency hails from Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland and the city in between. He briefed the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Tuesday about a range of business issues, including the differences between Maryland and Virginia with a frankness that one doesn't often see from business representatives. One of the key factors that separates the states is the degree to which businesses can predict what action lawmakers will take in statehouses in Annapolis and Richmond, Dinegar said. "You don't have a reputation for being business friendly," he told the committee. "The certainty, you don't want people [in Annapolis] trying to battle on taxes. Decide. There's a higher degree of certainty in Virginia." Maryland performs well in some nationwide business friendliness surveys, but almost never as well as Virginia. "Your competitor is Virginia and they're constantly eating your lunch," Dinegar said. On the Northrop Grumman sweepstakes, Dinegar said Maryland was close. "I think you would be surprised how close Maryland was to attracting Northrop Grumman," he said. "You're not light years away from being competitive." But Virginia, too, has its faults.

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