This has been a debate for many years from many people including Republicans, Democrats and independents.

True conservative Republicans would say that being open for business means no government restrictions, other than protecting the public, allowing the free market to dictate winners and losers. Liberal Democrats have a much broader perspective of what protecting the public is and include all kinds of tax credits and special incentives for special classes of businesses and people. The free market would be limited and the government would be involved in picking winners and losers.

Sometimes the government would even go into business competing against the private sector, such as a golf courses, health and fitness, aquatics, nursing homes, entertainment, hotel and conference centers — just to name some categories close to home. Then you have Republicans and Democrats all over the place with tax credits, tax increment financing, free land, free government services and government loans. It’s a mess, with one side perceived as giving it away to those that have nothing and instilling an entitlement sentiment, and the other side giving it away to those that have plenty and will make more. Yes, I have been accused of this myself at times.

The tax code is a mess on all levels, local, state and the federal, but we created this mess. We desperately need tax reform and a simpler, more equitable tax code. I’d propose either a flat tax or fair tax. But this will never happen, because politicians would lose the power to directly benefit those who helped elect them.

Now, to turn the discussion back to Maryland. With only a handful of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in Maryland, none of them located in Baltimore City, one wonders what can be done here. It was a major step to elect a governor who understands how business works. Gov. Larry Hogan actually owned and operated a business that employed people. Now, no disrespect to other small-business owners, but unless you have a business location and employ at least a handful of people, it’s hard to understand the everyday challenges that a business owner encounters. In my opinion, career politicians who have never owned a business are the core of the problem, and this needs to be addressed if we are ever really going to have a government that encourages free enterprise instead of stifling it. We have very few business people serving in elected office or who ever aspire to serve. When I look locally, I can only find one, and they are trying to drive him out of business or out of office. But this is true across the state.

The one business owner who actually had a business location and employed at least a handful of people in our local state delegation is gone. So, we can talk about being or wanting to be “open for business” all day long, but until we encourage and seek business people to get involved again, it’s just words.

It wasn’t always this way. If you look at many of the people who served in elected office decades ago, many of them were business owners. It was no big deal: They were serving their community and not looking for a career in politics. Politics has changed, with attacks, mudslinging, and with people making it their only job, making it a career. Now more than ever we need business people, and until we realize that, we will never really be open for business — it will just be a sentiment. Both parties will continue with business as usual.

This is why I believe Donald Trump has hit a nerve in this election cycle. Some people say we need a successful business person who tells it like it is to straighten this country out. Now, we always want to start at the top to fix our problems but it’s Congress and the state Legislature that needs to be changed first. Hogan is experiencing this firsthand as it’s almost impossible to implement change when the Legislature stops or overrides you at every turn.

Is it too late? No, but the silent voting public will have to get truly fed up and make the changes necessary if we ever want to be truly open for business. Otherwise, get used to buying more products that say “Made in China,” and get used to more taxes and fees on all levels.

Blaine Young is a lifelong resident of Frederick County, a former Alderman of the city of Frederick and former president of the Board of County Commissioners. His email is blaine@blaineyoung.com.

(50) comments

lewisantq

Blaine Young believes politicians should have business backgrounds. I believe exactly the opposite. In fact, if it were constitutional, I would bar anyone in the real estate/developer class from holding public office. I have watched and participated in the local political scene for 35 years and i am convinced that this developer element is absolutely poisonous to our political well-being. They are the source of huge amounts of corrupting money, buying politicians to do their bidding. They fight against environmental regulations, historic preservation and attempts by the public to preserve and protect their own communities. This isn't about party politics. One of the fiercest opponents of giveaways to developers was conservation Republican, Lennie Thompson, a county commissioner for many years. On the other hand, Galen Claggett, a sitting democratic state delegate, broke with his party and supported Blaine Young against Jan Gardner. Why? He is a major force in the local real estate/developer cabal. They are the living remnant of the "Good Old Boys" who used to rule this county. Bob Lewis

Burgessdr

Basically your argument is that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should have been barred from holding office because they were wealthy businessmen with large property holdings that they developed to benefit themselves and their families. Washington and Jefferson were the original Good Old Boys.

lewisantq

I revere the contributions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I'm not aware that they showered local county commissioners with campaign money. Besides, you guys are no Washington or Jefferson.

MAVRICKinc7

Is that because you have both eye closed, both ears plugged and tape over your mouth?

lewisantq

that should read "conservative Republican, Lennie Thompson"

MCEDDE21

I agree, Bob. Developers are the worst of the parasites on the body politic (if you ignore the Wall St banksters). As far as the developers are concerned, we the people, are nothing but an impediment to their profits. Their interests are diametrically opposed to the duties of public office (i.e., to serve the people) and should be banned from holding government office.

Also Washington and Jefferson were farmers—quite the opposite of developers. Life, too, was a lot different in 1800, in a country with virtually unlimited land and 5.3M residents... no asphalt or concrete highways and strip malls as far as the eye can see. I would prefer a farmer in public office over anyone in the real estate industry--or owned by it, such as the instant letter writer.

Burgessdr

Your ignorance of George Washington saying that he was just a farmer is, well, just ignorance.

Let me see. That simple huckapuck farmer owned about 50,000 acres by the end of his life. The is considered by historians and one the nations leading entrereneurs. Many see him as a major capitalist. Wheeling and dealing on land deals. Not bad for a farmer, heh? Let me see, he operated a distillery (not farming), a grist mill (not farming), ran a shipping business, owned a textile factory, a meat processing facility, a fish plant, a fish farm, a brick making factory, etc. Hey huckapuck, you ever heard of the C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) Canal that runs from Georgetown DC to Cumberland, MD. Well, it was started by none other than George himself. It was called the Patowmac Company that build dams and canals that bypassed rapids on the Potomac River to make it navigatable. The Potomack Canal, considered an engineering feet, allowed boats to go around Great Falls.

Just eating up this ignorance you all display. Frednumnuts.

Burgessdr

George Washington was a major major developer

lewisantq

Ignorance cuts both ways. You can focus your comments on George Washington who lived over 200 years ago but the citizens of this county have to contend with the corruption that is a reality of today. The source of that corruption is the real estate / developer community and that influence needs to be neutered. Bob Lewis

Burgessdr

Oh, so now there was no real estate / developer community or corruption in his George Washington's day. Your knowledge of history is highly lacking.

fnfn

Unfortunately "fed up", leads to stinking thinking. The more fed up, the more stinking... The more people led to do stinking thinking, the more stinking he consequences...

And yet we have a successful congressional businessman representing us and another successful businessman running hard for another district with none of that fed up stuff.

fnfn

"This is why I believe Donald Trump has hit a nerve in this election cycle. Some people say we need a successful business person who tells it like it is to straighten this country out." Failed marriages, many failed businesses, bankruptcies, birther, double mined quotes... What you talkin about Willis...

fnfn

"Flat" and "fair" taxes are misnomers, that usually tax those less able to pay.

fnfn

Since the contractors sell the amenities like "a golf courses, health and fitness, aquatics", they should be charged taxes to help we the people to pay off these amenities!!!

Burgessdr

Lots of intelligent comments here. Brilliant logic. I get it. Basically you are all saying Blaine Young is a really pooopie guy.

Tigerzord

NOPE, just can't do it! Just can't read what spewith out of his mouth!

MCEDDE21

I avoided reading it all day. I knew that it would be worthless. But, I finally bit the bullet and proved to myself that it was, in fact, totally worthless.

FrederickFan

The foul stench of corruption, filth, and greed follows Blaine Young everywhere and always.

Why, FNP, do you allow him to stain your newspaper?

Sallyforth

Wow. In looking through the comments I have to say that the support for Blaine is underwhelming.

KellyAlzan

"open for business" means county tax dollars wasted on the purchase and installation of road signs

flamingo

Okay, so let me get this straight. Blaine Young wants me to vote for Trump because he's a successful businessman and that's what needed to get this country turned around. The same Trump who belittles and demeans women, disparages people of color, makes fun of disabled people, threatens people of Muslim faith, promotes white supremacy and the list could go on and on. In essence, a big fat BULLY. Well, Blaine, I guess it takes one to know one. As always, you're spot on!

Positive

You forgot to mention the same job-offshoring Trump that would rather produce his Trump Collection in China than hire Americans.

fnfn

I have read in more than one place where the con bully is NOT successful when compared to good business people.

DickD

The last thing I wanted to see was an article written by Blaine Young, who promised us we would not hear from him for ten years. Just another Blaine Young lie. And now Blaine writes an ambiguous article in what appears to be support of his old buddy Kirby Delauter, the one we can't mention, to support Kirby in his desire to be able to hold public office and still be on the County Council. Get used to it Blaine, we don't want you, run your taxi cab business and stay out of politics.

bmclearen

Blaine, you are a lot like Trump, in that you both have shown that being a "successful" businessman doesn't make you a good leader of people. You proved that, and I hope our country has the same good sense and votes against Trump when it his time.

richardlyons

No matter how much we beg him to be silent, and in direct contradiction to his own pledge to go silently into the night, Moe cannot cut the cord. He's like a crack addict.

shiftless88

[thumbup]

b1sellers

Blaine you lost - go away.

public-redux

"Liberal Democrats have a much broader perspective of what protecting the public is and include all kinds of tax credits and special incentives for special classes of businesses and people."

The senior homeowner tax credit passed by the last BOCC is a good example.

public-redux

I disagree with the author's invocation of identity group politics (aka, "victim studies"). Suggesting that a government can't be business friendly unless business owners are elected officials is as silly as saying that a government can't be open to the concerns of (fill in any identity group, such as whites, blacks, women, Muslims) unless members of any such group are elected officials.

I wonder why the author believes other people would behave so unfairly.

fnfn

He believes that, because he must think like that himself...

bosco

Blaine, I thought you said we weren't going to hear from you anymore. I need to google for your quotes to see what it was exactly that you said.

threecents

I think he promised us eight Blaine-free years, but the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

Travis Bickle

It seems Blaine can`t just go away
He needs to remind us with each passing day
That although he`s still gone
no longer facing our scorn
He still has something to say

armillary

[thumbup]

gary4books

He can say what he may
But it is often to my dismay
Why so rude and crude?
When all it does is start another feud.

armillary


The rednecks for Trump say amen
like with Blaine in two thousand and ten
their frustrations linger
vote with their middle finger
after four years we'll clean up again.

shiftless88

I'm fine with business owners being involved in politics but one thing has often proved true: they originally developed a business to make money as a primary driver so it is no surprise that they go into politics with the same goal.

threecents

Exactly. There is no problem with business people in politics. The problems come when there are real or even perceived conflicts of interest. They reduce our confidence in government. And let's face it - there has been corruption at all levels of government, not to mention good old boy networks that exclude those out of the club.

fnfn

[thumbup]

shiftless88

This sure is a rambling LTE. Not sure what his overall point is, other than "we should do less of the kind of thing I did and Trump did, but you should vote for Trump anyway."

MCEDDE21

[thumbdown]

armillary


Four years of Blaine were imposed
not surprisingly, he was deposed
we're not having fun
fixing damage he'd done
but it's nice he's remaining composed.

BlueDawn666

I made one slight change, not that I like to tamper with brilliance, but this was how I first read it.

Four years of Blaine were imposed
not surprisingly, he has decomposed
we're not having fun
fixing damage he'd done
but it's nice he's remaining composed.

Yeah it was a very composed letter....

MAVRICKinc7

Is SCRIPTED the same PERCEPTION as COMPOSED?

BlueDawn666

So basically folks this is a kiss up column to Larry Hogan, Blaine would really like a job working for you, and shout out to us the taxpayers as to how mean we are to his bud Kirby by not letting him feed at the public trough. Also he really likes Trump, knowing Blaine does that surprise anyone?

DickD

They are two of a kind, both bullies!

MAVRICKinc7

Sorry Dick, but they are more than just bullies. They are both corrupt to the core.

b1sellers

[thumbup]

fnfn

Since they cannot do any better, mental sickness is more accurate...

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