A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
1. Governor Hogan delivers final State of the State address
Governor Larry Hogan gave his final State of the State address on Wednesday night, reflecting on his accomplishments over the past seven years and laying out his priorities for his last year in office. During his speech delivered from the historic Old Senate Chamber in the State House, he emphasized returning to pre-pandemic activities should be a priority for government leaders to continue to lead the nation into both health and recovery. Hogan also used his speech to reiterate several of his proposals, including gradually eliminating taxes on most retirement income, boosting a tax credit for low-income workers, boosting funding for police and instituting tougher penalties for certain violent crimes.
“Each year when I have proposed critical tax relief for seniors, legislators have said we just can’t afford it,” Hogan said. “Well, with our economy booming and our fiscal health stronger than ever before, we can’t afford not to do it,” Hogan said.
2. Revenue windfall pushes Maryland, other states to consider range of tax cuts
Soaring tax revenue and billions in federal pandemic aid making its way to states have left many with an unprecedented surplus causing lawmakers to propose a series of tax cuts to reverse the economic fallout brought on by the pandemic. Maryland’s projected surplus for the fiscal year starting on July 1 is $4.6 billion in a $58.2 billion budget, giving Governor Hogan leeway for his proposed tax relief package aimed at helping working families, small businesses and retirees. Hogan’s proposals in the past have been turned down by Democratic leaders, but the state’s generous budget surplus opens a window for striking a bipartisan deal before the end of his term.
Read the full story here.
3. Job openings rose in December amid worker shortages
Data released by the Labor Department on Tuesday showed the number of job openings rose 1.4% to 10.9 million on the last day of December, compared with the previous month. The data suggests that despite the financial and operational challenges presented by COVID-19 and the looming impact of the omicron wave, employers stepped up their demand for workers in December. There were approximately 1.6 available jobs for every person actively seeking work that month. Economists predict job gains took a hit in January as the omicron wave sickened millions of people but are confident hiring will bounce back in February as cases drop and Americans resume traveling and eating out.
Read the full story here.
4. Maryland judge sets deadlines for legal challenges to new General Assembly districts
Following last week’s passage of Maryland’s new legislative map laying out the boundaries for all 47 senators and 141 state delegates, Chief Judge Joseph M. Getty of the Court of Appeals issued a schedule on Friday for the anticipated legal challenges. Registered Maryland voters who wish to challenge the 2022 legislative districting plan have until next Thursday, Feb. 10, and the state will be required to respond by Feb. 15. The legal process runs up to Feb. 22, which is the deadline for candidates to file paperwork with the Maryland State Board of Elections to run in this year’s election. At least one group, Fair Maps Maryland, has already vowed to challenge the new map, claiming its political lines give Democrats an unfair advantage.
Read the full story here.
5. Maryland Chamber of Commerce opens nominations for Rising Star Award
On Tuesday, we announced we are seeking nominations from our business community for our prestigious Rising Star Award to identify a future leader that has demonstrated tremendous growth and embodies the spirit of Maryland business. This individual is a motivated stand-out employee, age 40 or under, who propels their company, colleagues and community to success. Our Rising Star will be recognized and celebrated at our flagship event, Inspire MD, on May 12 at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. In addition to this award, at Inspire MD we will induct two new individuals to the Business Hall of Fame, and award one individual with the Public Service Award for their contributions to help advance Maryland’s economy and quality of life. Read our full press release here.
Nominations for the Rising Star Award are open until 11:59 p.m. on March 1. To submit a nominee for the Rising Star Award, click here.
Upcoming Legislative Briefings and Hearings
Tuesday, February 08, 2022
Wednesday, February 09, 2022
Tuesday, February 10, 2022
Feedback needed! MDOT MTA has released a draft Statewide Transit Plan providing a roadmap for a comprehensive, connected transit system for current riders and for future generations. Your feedback is necessary to ensure the final product will make the greatest impact in your community.
The public comment is open through Feb. 18 and can be submitted online at www.mta.maryland.gov/statewide-plan.
Exclusive Event: 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. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain exclusive insight on Maryland’s economic future!