Friday Five | June 25, 2021

A recap of this week’s top-five news items and resources from the intersection of business and government.

1. Bipartisan infrastructure deal was reached boosting investments in rail and transit

An infrastructure spending deal was reached yesterday by a bipartisan group of senators, representing one of the biggest federal investments in rail and transit. Despite the lower overall spending, Biden’s administration believes it would achieve many of the same transportation objectives with the agreed $312 billion investment. The White House said the plan would “improve healthy, sustainable transportation options for millions of Americans by modernizing and expanding transit and rail networks across the country while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Details on what is next are not yet available, but there have been talks about moving the bipartisan package alongside a budget bill that would not need Republican votes in the Senate.

Read the full story here.

2. Maryland businesses offering bonuses as worker shortage persists

Maryland businesses have resorted to signing and retention bonuses to lure workers back as the labor shortage continues nationwide. Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were a record-high 9.3 million job openings on April 30. Some business owners and professionals in Maryland attribute the shortage to several factors such as allowing Marylanders to receive the weekly $300 federal unemployment benefits without actively searching for work, lack of childcare and concerns about contracting COVID-19. In response to this, Maryland businesses are now relying on old hiring tactics such as offering bonuses to compete with other employers targeting the same pool of limited job seekers.

Read the full story here.

3. Maryland gains 11,500 jobs in May as recovery continues

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Maryland gained 11,500 jobs, almost double from the previous month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.1%, compared to 6.2% in April. Most industries in Maryland added jobs in May including, education, health services, hospitality and government. Overall, Maryland has recovered 67% of approximately 400,000 jobs lost during March and April last year. Although there are clear signs of growth, the road to recovery remains uncertain as the worker shortage continues nationwide.

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4. State seeks dismissal of case challenging first-ok-a-kind Digital Ad Tax

The Maryland attorney general’s office is seeking the dismissal of the lawsuit filed by tech lobbyists and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to block the new state tax on social media digital advertising revenue. The lawsuit argues that the tax is a punitive assault on digital advertising and violates the U.S. Internet Tax Freedom Act as well as the commerce and due process clauses of the U.S. Constitution. In a motion to dismiss filed last week, the state rejects all claims and argues that the case should be brought in Maryland Tax Court. In addition, the state argues claims in the lawsuit are premature since regulations to implement the law have not yet been released from the state comptroller’s office.

Read the full story here.

5. Hogan honors Greater Baltimore companies an ‘incredible accomplishment’ of making Fortune 500

On Monday, Governor Hogan honored three publicly traded companies from Greater Baltimore, T.Rowe Price Group Inc., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and McCormick, for making the Fortune 500 list. Greater Baltimore had been without a Fortune 500 company since Constellation Energy was bought by Exelon Corp. in March 2012. Having these three companies make the Fortune 500 during a year when most companies were struggling due to the pandemic “symbolizes the strength of Maryland’s economy and the power of the state’s business community,” said Hogan. The event took place at Sinclair’s new offices on Gilroy Road where Hogan presented representatives of the three companies, including Maryland Chamber of Commerce board member Paul Nolan, vice president of tax, government affairs at McCormick, with citations and joined Sinclair leadership in cutting the ribbon for their new space.

Read the full story here.

In case you missed it! Webinar: Architects of Opportunity in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond – Our expert panel talks about building bridges between educators and top businesses through our Teacher Externship program and the powerful change it is driving in Maryland communities.







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