A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.
1. Governor Hogan issues executive orders to fight COVID surge, stops short of mask, vaccine mandates
In response to soaring COVID-19 infections statewide, Governor Hogan implemented a temporary state of emergency on Tuesday as well as other executive orders designed to give the state government more powers and tools to combat the health crisis. The latest projections show state COVID hospitalizations could reach more than 5,000, which is well above Tuesday’s record high of 3,057. Hogan’s new initiatives address some of the current challenges being faced by Maryland communities such as shortage of hospital staff and COVID-19 testing sites. He also announced yesterday the opening of 10 new COVID-19 testing sites by next week that will be available to the public seven days a week. Click here to view where the testing sites will be located.
2. Maryland ranked 11th most severe in report balancing first-year COVID-19 lockdowns with economic impact
In a recent analysis conducted by the independent, nonpartisan think tank Georgia Center for Opportunity, Maryland was ranked No. 11 in COVID-19 mitigation measures taken in the first 13 months of the pandemic, which weighed heavily on the state’s economy and workforce. From the get-go, Maryland officials took actions to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19, such as public event cancellations, school and workplace closings, and stay-at-home orders. And although these early measures seemed to have successfully flattened and lengthened the curve, the report shows a correlation between the severity of states’ government actions and the short-and long-term negative economic impact on each state.
3. Maryland ranks 46th in the State Business Tax Climate Index
According to the Tax Foundation’s 2022 State Business Tax Climate index recently released, Maryland now ranks 46th on its tax system structure compared to other states and the District of Columbia. The report assesses a state’s overall performance based on major areas of taxation that affect businesses, such as corporate, sales and unemployment insurance tax, and provides a road map for improvement. Maryland’s low ranking shows great room for improvement in implementing business-friendly tax policies that will allow them to better compete with neighboring states.
Our goal at the Maryland Chamber of Commerce is to support tax policy reform in the upcoming 2022 legislative session that will reduce the cost of doing business to attract and retain businesses, talent and investment for a more competitive state. Join our Action Network to receive text and email alerts to stay engaged on critical issues impacting Maryland job creators.
4. Why do prices keep going up and what’s the cause of inflation
U.S. inflation is at its highest rate in nearly four decades this fall, reaching 6.8% in November. Economists have identified several causes for the current spike in inflation, many of them linking to the pandemic. For one, consumers are flush with savings from federal programs, and businesses’ limited capacity for services due to government restrictions has led them to open the spigot for goods that are scarce in supply. There are also fewer workers in the labor market, which is crimping overall productivity and encouraging those who are working to demand raises, putting more stress on businesses. These and many other factors are increasing prices, causing much speculation among economists about the level at which inflation will settle in 2023.
5. For Maryland lawmakers and Hogan, it’s Redistricting Round 2
A legislative plan to redraw the state’s legislative districts is expected to move quickly through the General Assembly when the 2022 session opens next Wednesday, Jan. 12. There are two competing proposals. The first plan is from a nine-member independent panel appointed by Governor Hogan, the Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, featuring districts with smaller single-delegate subdistricts. The second proposal comes from a panel appointed by the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate, who many expect will be challenged in court. Once Hogan presents his new legislative map, lawmakers will have 45 days to pass a plan, or Hogan’s goes into effect.
Opportunity: First look at 2022 legislative session
Calling all Maryland job creators to attend our MEET the STATE premier virtual event on Wed. Jan. 19 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. and help us shape Maryland’s future business policy. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind opportunity to join a forum with your legislators. Reserve your spot now! Visit our event page to view event agenda and full speaker lineup.