Adam Pagnucco: Why I’m Joining Team Blair

Blair
Businessman David Blair announced in March that he will run again for Montgomery County executive. File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

David Blair is the best choice for Montgomery County executive. Here is why I made my decision.

Consider the following three charts.

The chart below shows private sector job growth in the region’s largest jurisdictions from 2006 through 2019, the most recent year available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Check out how we are negative while most of our competitors have grown by double digits.

Now let’s look at growth in business establishments over the same period. We had almost no growth while most of our competitors grew by leaps and bounds.

And now the third chart, which shows annual growth in internally generated county revenues from FY98 through FY22. This chart does not include intergovernmental aid from the federal and state governments because most of that money does not originate inside the county.

From FY98 through FY09, county revenue excluding intergovernmental aid grew by an annual rate of 6.1%. In the years following, revenue growth fell to an average annual rate of 2.4% – less than half the prior rate. Economic stagnation has produced budget stagnation.

And so here is the consequence of our failure to compete economically. No matter what you want from the county – more school funding, more transportation funding, more social services, more child care, affordable housing – good luck getting it because the county increasingly can’t pay for it. Without robust economic growth that produces strong revenue growth, county leaders cannot implement a positive agenda for Montgomery County no matter how much they promise it. This fact is key to whether our county succeeds or fails.

You have a choice in the upcoming county executive race. You can vote for the same leadership that produced the above record and watch the county further decline. Or you can vote for change.

I choose change. That’s why I joined Team Blair.

Please join me.

–ADAM PAGNUCCO

The writer is a former strategic researcher in the labor movement, a former chief of staff at the Montgomery County Council, and a former columnist at Seventh State and Bethesda Beat.