A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
1. Maryland lawmakers are once again hoping to pass wide-ranging environmental legislation
Maryland lawmakers are resuming their efforts this session to pass a wide range of environmental legislation targeting the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and phase out of energy sources such as propane, heating oil and natural gas for residential and commercial buildings. The bill introduced, Senate Bill 528, would place Maryland among the states with the most ambitious targets for reducing globe-warming emissions, including:
Act now! These types of energy policies have drastic cost implications for Maryland businesses and consumers and saddle our state with a competitive disadvantage to others in the region. A hearing for Senate Bill 528 has been scheduled in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee next Tuesday, February 15. Contact committee members now and urge them to oppose this legislation that’s bad for business and bad for consumers! Take action here.
2. Maryland lawmakers outline package to support child care
Yesterday during a video conference, Maryland lawmakers outlined a package designed to support child care providers who have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. The package includes grants to attract and retain providers and the creation of zero-interest loans to help with capital expansions and acquisitions for facilities struggling with capacity.
“We want to expand and stabilize grant programs for our child-care providers,” said Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, “We want to fund child-care providers bonuses, so that we have the best and the brightest who are working with our youngest Marylanders, and we want to enhance our therapeutic child care programs.”
Read the full story here.
3. Combined reporting would further degrade Maryland’s business climate
Another top priority for Maryland lawmakers this session is passing Senate Bill 360 and House Bill 457, legislation that would require the state to adopt combined reporting for corporate income tax filings, a significant change that would hinder Maryland’s economic growth and competitiveness. Combined reporting is a corporate income tax reporting method that allows all profits of business entities or subsidiaries of a multistate corporation, regardless of their location, to be combined in one report. This tax system could arbitrarily allocate more income to a particular state than is justified by the businesses’ economic activity in that state. Not only would this create an administrative burden to business owners, but it would further place Maryland at a competitive disadvantage with neighboring states when looking to attract and retain businesses. Read the full story here.
Want to know more about combined reporting and its implications? Our VP of Government Affairs answers the 5 most frequently asked questions here.
4. Mary D. Kane: Paid family leave bill: correct in theory, wrong in practice
In an op-ed in the Capital Gazette, Maryland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mary Kane discusses our stance on the Family & Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program, introduced by Maryland lawmakers this session as House Bill 8 and Senate Bill 275.
“Our opposition to this bill is not in principle, but in practice,” said Kane.
The bills before the General Assembly provides employees up to 24 weeks of paid leave without any input from the employer. Only the state would be allowed to verify the employee’s eligibility for paid leave benefits and the employer would not be able to verify the need for leave or challenge it if it is fraudulent or abusive.
The proposed legislation stipulates that the program will be funded by payroll contributions from both employers and employees, a cost that many small businesses and workers cannot afford at this time. Other states that have implemented a similar paid family leave program include an exemption or adjustment to the contribution costs for small employers, this bill does not. We are committed to working with the General Assembly to find common ground and work towards a program that better balances the needs of both employees and employers. Read more here.
Act now! The House hearing is set for 2/15, tell your legislators in two easy clicks why this paid family and medical leave program is the wrong legislation at the wrong time. Take action here.
5. Biden to propose 4.6% pay raise for federal employees, the biggest hike in 20 years
According to senior officials at two federal agencies, federal employees and military service members would receive average raises of 4.6% next January under the budget President Biden will propose in March, the largest hike in two decades. The salary increase would be in addition to the average 2.7% raise that took effect last month for 2.1 million executive branch workers. Supporters have been pushing for this increase to compensate the federal workforce for their tireless work in challenging areas such as research and national security while attracting and retaining skilled employees that will continue to move our nation forward.
Read the full story here.
Upcoming Legislative Briefings and Hearings
Monday, February 14, 2022
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
Thursday, February 17, 2022
Friday, February 18, 2022
Exclusive insight on Maryland’s economic future!
STATE of the STATE presented by Bank of America
Thursday, February 24, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
At this virtual event, Governor Larry Hogan will deliver a keynote address followed by a panel discussion addressing the state of Maryland’s economy & recovery.