President’s message: new session, new successes

Today is the big day—the opening of the 441st Maryland legislative session. My team at the Maryland Chamber and I would like to take a moment, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, to say how excited we are to be your advocates in Annapolis.

The legislation that our General Assembly introduces and passes over the course of the next three months could potentially affect our business community and our state as a whole—so we must make sure our voices are heard loud and clear in the halls of the State House.

We look forward to collaborating with you and fellow business leaders, legislators and policymakers to ensure that we are promoting your interests. Together, we form a statewide coalition that is committed to ensuring that Maryland is attracting and retaining quality jobs; developing vibrant, sustainable communities; and staying at the forefront of global competitiveness and economic prosperity.

Our top priorities for the 2020 legislative session include:

1) Monitoring any new funding proposals stemming from the recommendations made by the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education (Kirwan Commission). We stand ready to work with all stakeholders to identify viable funding solutions that will result in a world-class educational system for our students but won’t unintentionally create barriers for our job creators.

2) Watching any potential adjustments to the corporate tax rate as well as any new taxing schemes that could prove detrimental to Maryland businesses, including mandatory combined reporting.

3) Protecting a set of economic development incentives, including tax credits that are intended to boost research and development and investment in local cyber and biotechnology companies.

4) Voicing support for additional data centers in Maryland. We have convened a Data Center Coalition that seeks to add Maryland to the list of 30 states that already offer tax incentives to the operators of data centers. We’re also continuing our push for a sales-and-use tax exemption for the sale of computer technology to be used at these data centers. Such legislation would level the playing field, attract data center business to Maryland, and support the state as a leader in innovation and investment in cyber and information technology. If you are interested in learning more about our efforts or joining our Data Center Coalition, please contact our vice president of government affairs, Ashley Duckman, at aduckman@mdchamber.org or 410-269-0642.

In addition, our dozen policy committees will meet regularly to review newly introduced legislation, particularly those pieces of legislation that will be of interest to our 4,500-plus members. Whether your expertise is in taxation, education, workforce development, health care or something else, or you simply want to stay in-the-know, we encourage you to serve on a policy committee. For more information about serving on a policy committee, please contact Ashley Duckman at aduckman@mdchamber.org or 410-269-0642.

Throughout the 2020 session, the Maryland Chamber will provide regular updates on legislation of importance to the business community. Be sure to visit our Bill Tracker, which will soon be up on our website, to track ongoing legislation that impacts Maryland business. Also, please take a moment to download our Advocacy Playbook, if you haven’t already. It is a comprehensive guide to understanding, and getting involved in, the legislative process.

On behalf of the Maryland Chamber, I wish you the very best in the new year and a productive and successful legislative session filled with wins for our business community and economy.

Kind regards,

Christine Ross

President & CEO

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