Industry groups representing Maryland’s news media and advertising communities are thanking Governor Larry Hogan for his commitment to supporting businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic by vetoing a bill which would have, among other provisions, taxed digital advertising in the state.

“The economic landscape has changed dramatically in the past month and fragile businesses struggling to get back on their feet cannot afford to pay more in advertising costs,” the groups said in a release.

The statement thanking Governor Hogan came from Rebecca Snyder, executive director the MDDC Press Association; idfive’s Matthew McDermott, president, American Advertising Federation of Baltimore; and Hal Schild, president, American Advertising Federation – DC Chapter

The Association of National Advertisers also commended Governor Hogan’s decision to veto HB 732, the first digital advertising tax measure ever passed by any U.S. state legislature: “Governor Hogan’s decision will substantially help Maryland consumers and businesses. This tax now will not be passed on to consumers, the ANA stated in a press release.

Advertising agencies across Maryland, many of them small businesses, would have been at a severe disadvantage when competing with firms located outside the state — firms who would not be saddled with additional tax burdens, the release noted.

Also from the ANA statement: “the veto of this counterproductive proposal is an important victory for ANA and our members. It relieves small and large businesses of a major burden on their efforts to market their products and services, which in turn helps protect the almost 400,000 Marylanders whose jobs are supported by the sale of products and services generated by advertising – nearly 15 percent of the 2.6 million jobs in the state.

“We appreciate that Governor Hogan listened to the concerns expressed by ANA and others regarding HB 732. As we continue to navigate the ongoing global health crisis, we are encouraged by the support of public officials like Governor Hogan, who recognize our industry’s contributions to our nation’s economy.”

According to the statement posted on the AAFB website, “before the pandemic, advertising expenditures accounted for $101.5 billion of sales in Maryland. That represents 14.6 percent of the $693.1 billion in total economic output for the State, according to economic research for the media and advertising industries that applied an economic model developed by the 1980 Nobel Laureate for Economic Science, Dr. Lawrence R. Klein. The research further shows that sales of products and services driven by advertising help support 393,667 jobs – nearly 15 percent of the 2.6 million jobs in Maryland.

Photo: WBAL-TV

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