Continuing strong state support for bioscience and technology industry development, tax credits that nurture business growth, funding the Red Line’s construction in Baltimore, and other important transportation initiatives are among the Greater Baltimore Committee’s priorities as lawmakers convene on January 14 for the 2009 session of the Maryland General Assembly.
“It’s critical that our elected leaders focus on positioning Maryland to emerge from the current recession with a stronger business climate that includes key programs, funding support, and tax policies in place to leverage the state’s competitive strengths for economic growth,” said GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry.
Other GBC legislative priorities include maintaining a strong investment in higher education, adopting practical “greenhouse gas” legislation that will not stifle a competitive business environment, filling the state’s health care workforce gap, and working to remove employment barriers for ex-offenders.
Following is a summary of the GBC’s 2009 legislative priorities:
• Bioscience. Fund initiatives to increase the number of new technologies and companies that emerge from Maryland universities and federal labs; maintain funding for biotechnology investment tax credits; and continue state investment in bioscience parks and facilities.
• Growing Maryland’s economic base. Invest state resources in programs that leverage economic growth in the state, including tax credits for research and development and for commercial rehabilitation of historic buildings; and defer action on corporate income tax combined reporting until current study is complete.
• Education. Invest strongly in higher education, including funding for community colleges; support continued funding of charter schools; and support programs for alternative teacher certification.
• Energy and environment. Support “greenhouse gas” legislation, provided that it does not negatively impact a competitive business environment or disproportionately affect a significant business sector; encourage the federal government to pass national climate control legislation; and support a more stable regulatory environment.
• Health care. Support programs to increase Maryland’s health care workforce; remain committed to Medicaid expansion to reduce the number of uninsured and to supply increased drug treatment to our neediest citizens.
• Public safety. Support tougher restrictions on pretrial release of violent offenders; and support efforts to remove barriers to employment for ex-offenders.
• Transportation. Ensure that financial resources remain committed to construction of the Red Line in Baltimore and planning the Green Line extension from Johns Hopkins to Morgan State University and beyond; refrain from raiding the state’s Transportation Trust Fund again; and fund BRAC-related transportation projects.