Maryland Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Testifies at Augustine Commission Hearing

Last year the legislature’s presiding officers created the nonpartisan Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission, more commonly known as the “Augustine Commission”. The charge of the Augustine Commission, chaired by Norman Augustine, former CEO of Lockheed Martin, and made up of business and political leaders, was to find ways to improve Maryland’s business climate and grow the economy.

Augustine said the Commission held seven hearings around the state and heard from more than 100 witnesses before developing a set of 32 recommendations.

Last month the Augustine Commission released its report and several of its recommendations needing legislative approval were wrapped into five bills. On Monday, March 9, Brien Poffenberger, President and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, testified in favor of these bills.

As part of his testimony Poffenberger spoke about the Competitiveness Coalition; a group of business leaders and associations convened by Maryland Chamber of Commerce. The Coalition met for the first time more than two years ago and focused on two basic questions:

The work of the Competitiveness Coalition provided, in some ways, early indicators for the Augustine Commission. Poffenberger highlighted concepts surfaced by Coalition and subsequently incorporated into the proposed legislation.

  1. Open-for-Business Attitude – SB 774/HB 940
  2. Balance to the Regulatory Environment – SB 775/HB 939
  3. Create Sales Force for Maryland – SB 776/HB 943
  4. Strengthen Apprenticeships and Internships – SB 772/HB 942
  5. Strengthen Entrepreneurship – SB 773/HB 941

Poffenberger thanked President Miller and Speaker Busch for creating and supporting the Augustine Commission, and Chairman Norman Augustine and the Committee members for their hard work. He said, “The Maryland Chamber of Commerce presented a vision to the Commission early on in the process and since that time has worked closely with Commission staff and members to give recommendations. We look forward to helping move these initiatives forward and having them spur Maryland’s efforts to compete and grow more jobs. We also look forward to working with the Commission on efforts that will continue to make Maryland more competitive for attracting and growing our economy.”

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