GBC to lawmakers: Top priority must be job creation and economic growth

The Greater Baltimore Committee is urging state lawmakers convening for the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly to keep their eyes on the top strategic priority for meeting the state’s fiscal challenges – nurturing a healthy state economy.

“We face a session where Maryland lawmakers run the risk of being consumed with plugging budget holes and losing sight of the one big thing that will ultimately resolve our state’s fiscal situation – business growth,” says GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry. “The Number One priority for Maryland’s elected leaders now and in the foreseeable future must be job creation and economic growth.”

The GBC is urging state leaders to commit to an overarching strategic plan for business growth that reflects eight consensus core pillars for job creation and a competitive business environment compiled by business leaders and economic development experts in Maryland. The core pillars can be found in the GBC’s December 2010 report, “Gaining a Competitive Edge.” The report is posted on the GBC web site, www.gbc.org.

Meanwhile, the GBC’s legislative agenda for the 2011 session includes support for continuing tax credit programs and other business development programs, increasing funding for Department of Business and Economic Development, broadening autonomy for charter schools, and expanding science and technology education in the state’s public schools, and a continuing strong investment in higher education.

The GBC also supports strengthening funding for the state’s transportation infrastructure and establishing a “firewall” limiting the use of the state’s Transportation Trust fund for other purposes.

Following is a summary of GBC’s 2011 legislative agenda:

Business Climate
• Corporate taxes. The GBC opposes any proposals to increase or restructure corporate taxes and supports the recommendation of the Business Tax Reform Commission not to institute combined reporting.
• Tax credits. The GBC supports continued funding at existing levels of the bioscience investment tax credit and the research and development tax credit.

Growing the Economic Base
• Small business development. The GBC supports reauthorizing the state’s MBE and WBE programs to nurture the development of small and minority-owned businesses, including programs such as the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority.
• State use of small business vendors. The GBC supports the extension of the Small Business Reserve Program.
• Funding DBED. The GBC urges increased funding for the Department of Business and Economic Development to ensure financing resources for expanding businesses in Maryland and to nurture private investment in small and minority businesses.

Education
• Charter schools. The GBC supports growth of quality charter schools and amending Maryland law to grant broader operational autonomy for charter schools.
• Higher education. The GBC supports continued strong investment in higher education to deliver a highly-educated workforce to serve Maryland’s growing knowledge-based economy.
• STEM education. The GBC supports policies and programs aimed at strengthening science, technology, engineering, and math subjects in the state’s primary and secondary schools.
• Baltimore City school reform. The GBC supports current education reform efforts in Baltimore City’s public schools and opposes any legislation that would threaten continued progress.

Transportation
• Red Line. The GBC remains committed to ensuring the construction of the light rail Red Line from Western Baltimore County through Baltimore City to Bayview.
• Funding infrastructure. The GBC supports increasing funding for Maryland’s transportation infrastructure.
• Transportation funding firewall. The GBC continues its long-standing support for establishing a “firewall” to ensure public trust that the state’s Transportation Trust Fund will be used for maintenance and expansion of the state’s transportation system.
• Maglev. The GBC supports eliminating statutory restrictions on state funds for development of a maglev system.
• Federal funding. The GBC urges state leaders to work closely with Maryland’s congressional delegation to support federal transportation funding reauthorization.

GBC’s 2011 legislative agenda.

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