Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Economic Engine of Maryland, Part One

Barry C. Watkins, CEO and president of Fidelity & Trust Bank, 6/10/05:

Montgomery County is a powerful economic engine.
Former Governor Robert Ehrlich on Montgomery County, 5/18/02:

It's the economic engine of Maryland.
Royce Hanson, Chairman, M-NCPPC, 12/22/08:

The I-270/MD 355 Corridor has become the economic engine of Maryland, helping position Montgomery County for leadership in America’s knowledge-based economy.
Senate President Mike Miller on Montgomery County, 6/1/07:

It’s like Never Neverland for other legislators of the state.
Senator Rona Kramer (D-14), 9/22/07:

The rest of the state needs to understand that if they make Montgomery County too expensive to live, there are very comfortable alternatives right across the river in Northern Virginia where they have excellent school systems and much lower taxes… We’ve never said we don't want to help the rest of the state, but you can’t hit us so hard that we can no longer function appropriately and think we’ll remain the economic engine for the rest of the state.
The term “economic engine” has been used for Montgomery County so often that it has begun to lose its meaning. Many people say it. Few say it with any real purpose. Very few understand why the county has this role. And only a tiny handful are beginning to say in public what is really happening:

This engine is wearing down. And if it breaks, the state will stop moving.

In this series, we connect the dots for you, our readers, the current and future decision-makers of the Free State. How important is the county to the state’s economy? How does it match up against its competitors? How has it performed against them? What does it cost the state to support the county’s efforts to compete? And what happens to Maryland if Montgomery County fails?

We will begin our story in Part Two.