See what we expect to affect you in Annapolis this year.
In the 2017 legislative session, the Maryland Chamber helped ensure the veto of a statewide paid leave mandate (Maryland Healthy Working Families Act – HB 1). Since the May veto, the threat of an overturn has kept the Maryland Chamber working tirelessly to sustain the veto and, if a mandate is unavoidable, to ensure a more reasonable approach that provides protections for both employees and employers. The concerns the Maryland Chamber will seek to address this session include:
The Maryland Chamber has consistently opposed legislation to raise Maryland’s minimum wage to $15. Increasing to this wage, far above the federal and surrounding state minimum wages, would artificially alter the price of labor and therefore the price of goods and services to consumers. It would also threaten jobs and available hours, and it will damage the competitiveness of the Maryland business climate.
As introduced in 2017, this legislation would enact employee shift scheduling requirements such as three-week advance scheduling, and corresponding financial penalties for non-compliance (Maryland Fair Scheduling Act – SB 1145/1116). The Maryland Chamber will continue to oppose unreasonably restrictive legislation that threatens businesses and the jobs they provide.
Last session, the General Assembly introduced several pieces of civil liability-related legislation. These bills were intended to change Maryland’s current standard for punitive damages as set forth by the Maryland Court of Appeals nearly 25 years ago in Owens-Illinois v. Zenobia. Other proposed legislation would have removed the monetary cap on noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages for malpractice for personal injury or death. If passed, such legislation would profoundly alter historic legal dicta and create precarious legislative policy and legal precedent.
Income Tax Modification – Military Retirement Income: Legislators made several attempts during the 2017 session to modify existing tax liabilities on military retirement income. The Maryland Chamber believes that providing meaningful retirement tax relief for these veterans will help to retain their skills, knowledge, and expertise here in Maryland upon their retirement from service to our country.
This bill, which passed the Senate but failed in the House in 2017, would create a tax credit against the state income tax for a Maryland business entity that employed an “eligible intern” who otherwise would not have been hired without the tax credit. We supported this bill last year and anticipate being able to support it again in 2018.
This legislative proposal sought to establish an income tax credit for a small business, defined as fewer than 25 employees, located within a Maryland Enterprise Zone or Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone. The qualifying businesses would hire at least one employee before or during the tax year, and retain that employee for at least six months. The Maryland Chamber supported this bill in 2017; we believe this legislation would provide both needed tax relief and incentive for expansion of Maryland’s workforce. This modified tax credit eligibility will support new business creation, and can spur development of projects that will promote reinvestment in and revitalization of local economies.
This perennial legislation sought to impose a system of mandatory unitary combined reporting for corporate income taxes on those retail sales and food service corporations. In addition to creating a competitive disadvantage with surrounding states that do not use combined reporting, this legislation increases tax revenue volatility, unduly creates reporting complexities to small businesses, and risks alienating the very industries Maryland is attempting to attract.
The bills from the 2017 legislative session are in the books—passed, failed or vetoed. Now, you can see how we worked together to advocate for Maryland business.