“I hate Maryland.” This is a statement I hear frequently from my clients. As some of you already know, I’m from the great state of South Dakota, so the more I hear remarks like this, the more I need to investigate. I have heard this statement from people with all kinds of different backgrounds, political beliefs, social statuses, etc., making this opinion not particular to one group of people, rather a diverse mix. I am going to look at this sentiment from a purely economic standpoint to illustrate how fortunate we all are to live in Maryland.
Most people mention taxes as their primary reason for sharing this opinion. Maryland’s state tax of 5.7 percent is nowhere near the highest compared to California at 13.3 percent or Hawaii at 11 percent. Further, Maryland does not tax social security, which many of my clients are surprised to learn.
Maryland taxes pensions while some states like Delaware do not. Luckily, Governor Larry Hogan recently passed the Retirement Tax Elimination Act that offered tax credits for residents over the age of 65 to offset the state taxes on pensions. I like what the governor did because instead of just giving the tax credit to those with pensions, he gave it to everyone over the age of 65 within certain income levels. Interestingly, Maryland is among the states with the lowest percentage of population 65 or older – only 16.3 percent. This tells us that people are moving out of Maryland upon retirement.
Marylanders may also feel like the cost of living is among the highest in the country - in fact, we are seventh highest in the country in terms of cost of living based on first quarter 2022. Mississippi and Oklahoma have the lowest cost of living while Hawaii, New York, and California are the top three most expensive. We make up for that high cost of living by earning higher income. The federal government is the largest employer in Maryland.
We all know someone who works for the federal government. If you do not work directly for the government, chances are you work for a contractor or for a company that does business directly with the federal government or contractor. I imagine we all are tangentially connected to a company that does business with a contractor or the federal government. The federal government is the heart that continues to beat and has been since 1776. We all benefit from being close to the heart.
Several of the richest counties in the country are near Washington D.C. Maryland has nine of the top 50 richest counties, as measured by median household income in the United States. Anne Arundel County had a median household income of $100,798 in 2019, making it the 17th wealthiest county in the U.S. Howard County is the sixth wealthiest county in the U.S. with a median household income of 121,160.
I consider myself lucky and blessed to live in Maryland. I grew up in a great state with wonderful people. However, the economy is dependent largely on tourism – and tourism involves big swings. Moving to Maryland has introduced me to the consistent economic environment this area provides.
I am convinced that we are all 30 percent wealthier due to living in Maryland. The next time you want to say how bad Maryland is, think about how fortunate you are to have economic comfort and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay around you.
7 Riggs Avenue, Severna Park, MD 21146 – 443-647-4321 www.labargefinancial.com Registered representative offering securities and advisory services through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a broker-dealer and a registered investment advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity. The views depicted in this material are for informational purposes only and are not necessarily those of Cetera Advisor Networks LLC. They should not be considered specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
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