As Maryland’s comptroller, Peter has tenaciously worked to advance sound economic policies that support local and independent businesses, create good-paying jobs, and build an economic climate that encourages investors and entrepreneurs to do business and stay in Maryland.
99.5% of Maryland’s businesses are small businesses, employing more than half of the state’s workforce. Peter understands that family owned, independently operated businesses are the beating heart of our state’s economy, and play an indispensable role in communities across Maryland. As global corporations continue to expand their share of the marketplace, Peter remains an unapologetic cheerleader and advocate for Maryland businesses.
He has traveled across Maryland visiting more than 10,000 locally owned businesses to hear from owners first hand about their challenges and how the government can be a partner in their success.
Throughout his tenure, Peter has worked with Democrats and Republicans alike to identify policy solutions that level the playing field and allow local businesses to fairly compete with big corporations and operate under laws and regulations that encourage their success and growth.
At times, his efforts have put him at odds with well-funded special interests, but Peter has never taken his marching orders from the political bosses - only from the people who pay his salary.
That’s why Peter supported the Supreme Court’s ruling on South Dakota v. Wayfair that requires online retailers to collect and remit sales tax, just like brick-and-mortar businesses that choose to locate, hire employees, and invest in the State of Maryland. Before the Court’s landmark ruling in 2018, Peter was a strong proponent of legislation at the state and federal level that would have imposed this mandate.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Peter has pressured the Hogan Administration to direct immediate funding to help retailers, restaurants, and other small businesses that have been heavily impacted by the economic crisis. He’s consistently called on Governor Hogan to release at least $500 million from our state’s multi-billion dollar reserves to protect our small businesses, their employees, and the vast network of vendors and local producers they support.
In addition to being a champion of small businesses, Peter, as Maryland’s chief alcohol, tobacco, and motor fuel regulator, has worked diligently to ensure that businesses in these critically-regulated industries abide by the same set of rules.
Since taking office, his Field Enforcement Division has issued 1,812 citations pertaining to motor fuel violations, seized more than 85,000 containers of smuggled beer, and confiscated more than 3.2 million packages of contraband cigarettes and other tobacco products. By ensuring these industries are following the same set of rules, Peter is ensuring that no businesses have an edge over others, and more importantly - consumers are protected.
Given his familiarity with Maryland’s alcohol laws and belief that our laws should support - not hinder - the success of local businesses, Peter led the charge to reform Maryland’s antiquated and dysfunctional beer laws.
After the Maryland General Assembly enacted burdensome laws that made Maryland one of the worst states for craft breweries to do business, Peter convened a task force to study the state’s alcohol laws. Over a five-month period, the 40-member Reform on Tap Task Force held public meetings across the state, heard from expert witnesses, and proposed 12 recommendations that would level the playing field for Maryland’s craft brewing industry.
Thanks to Peter’s advocacy, in 2019 the General Assembly enacted sweeping reforms to the prohibition-era laws that governed how breweries produced, sold, and distributed their products.
While Peter took political hits for pushing for these statutory changes, these reforms represent a major step in the right direction for Maryland’s craft breweries.
We need an economic approach that devotes less time and energy to competing for global corporations that demand billions of dollars of taxpayer money, and devotes more time and energy to tearing down barriers for those small, local businesses that ask for nothing more than an honest chance to succeed in the marketplace.