Signing an executive order in the offices of a Maryland-based digital services company, Gov. Wes Moore created a council Thursday to track economic trends and shape state economic development strategy. He tapped a leader of streaming service giant Netflix to lead it.

The Maryland Economic Council will include several state agency heads who will serve under the leadership of Will Castleberry, director of state regulatory and production policy at Netflix.

“This council will help us to build a robust economic strategy that our state needs and that our state deserves,” Moore said.

The first-term Democrat gave the council a to-do list which included tracking trends, such as inflation and supply chain dynamics, capitalizing on the state’s existing assets and determining which industries would not suit Maryland.

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Maryland ranked 47th on economic momentum compared to other states and D.C., according to a state budget overview written by the Moore-Miller administration. And the state’s economic growth rate has lagged behind the nation’s over the last 10 years.

“When your economy is weak, your state starts funneling people to other states,” Moore said. “I refuse for our state to be anybody’s farm team.

“The days of Maryland’s economy marking time have come to an end. Gone are the days when we’re going to have ‘open for business’ as a slogan without an actual backup,” Moore said. The slogan Moore mentioned belonged to former Gov. Larry Hogan.

In addition to Castleberry, who was part of Moore’s transition team and worked in the administration of former Gov. Parris Glendening, members of the panel will include Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and members of the administration’s cabinet — the secretaries of commerce, budget and management, and labor.

There will be more members on the council, but Moore and Castleberry said the council will remain “flexible” and add members as needed. The council will have funding, but Moore did not specify how much during the news conference.

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“This is not going to be an unfunded mandate,” he said.

brenda.wintrode@thebaltimorebanner.com

Brenda Wintrode covers state government, agencies and politics. Before joining The Baltimore Banner, Wintrode wrote an award winning series of long form investigations for Wisconsin Watch. 

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