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How Important are Social Security and Medicare to Maryland's Economy?

A new report says a 3 percent cut in Social Security would take more than $300 million from the state economy.

How much do Social Security and Medicare programs affect Maryland businesses? More than you might think, according to a new report by the Main Street Alliance, a national network of small business coalitions.

The report, called “Business is (Baby) Booming,” looked at how Social Security and Medicare can drive economic activity and strengthen the retirement security of small business owners across the country. 

The group’s efforts focused on small businesses—defined as a business with 100 or fewer employees. The report found that more than one-third of small business owners were at or near Social Security’s full benefit age of 66.

The report also cited a U.S. Small Business Administration study that found business owners are “significantly less likely to hold retirement assets than private sector wage and salary workers” and owners of smaller businesses (less than 25 employees) are “significantly less likely to invest in retirement assets” when compared to owners of larger businesses.

In Maryland, 37 percent of small business owners are over age 55 and approaching the full-benefit age, according to the report.

The report also found that nearly 15 percent of Maryland’s population receives Social Security benefits, at an average of $13,459 per year.

In rural Maryland, 1 in 20 residents receive Social Security, while 1 in 8 non-rural Maryland residents collect benefits.

A 3 percent reduction in Social Security benefits would result in a $343.4 million loss to Maryland’s economy, the report found. For Medicare, a similar cut would take $262.5 million out of the state’s economy.

Click here to read the full report for Maryland here.

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