GBC urges lawmakers to enact ‘angel’ investment tax credit, other policies for competitiveness

A new tax credit for “angel” investors in early-stage businesses and support for policies to expand Maryland’s economic base, promote entrepreneurship, strengthen workforce development and fund transportation infrastructure are among priorities the Greater Baltimore Committee is urging state lawmakers to embrace during the 2015 General Assembly session that convenes on January 14.

The GBC is also asking lawmakers to pursue other polices to strengthen Maryland’s competitiveness for economic growth including reducing business and personal income taxes, improving fiscal analysis of the impact of legislation on business costs and reforming the state’s election redistricting process.

“These priorities reflect our organization’s continuing advocacy for policies that position Maryland more competitively for business growth and job creation, with an added focus on growing emerging industry sectors and fostering innovation and entrepreneurship,” GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry said in releasing the 2015 legislative agenda for the GBC, the region’s most prominent group of business and civic leaders.

Signature initiative:

  • Creation of an “angel” investment tax credit. The GBC is proposing new legislation that would offer tax credits to so-called “angel” investors in start-up businesses in Maryland that are engaged in innovation and developing proprietary technology products or services.

Specific GBC priorities include:

  • Promote entrepreneurship and innovation. Strengthen funding for the Maryland Innovation Initiative and the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program. Maintain funding of tax credits for biotechnology investment and research and development and provide for future incremental funding increases for these tax credits.
  • Nurture a 21st century economy. Support initiatives to broaden Maryland’s economic base, ease regulatory challenges by creating a “one-stop shop” to address questions about state regulations and develop policies to make it easier for Maryland businesses to export their products and services. Increase state agency use of minority- and women-owned vendors.
  • Building a skilled workforce. Provide more resources and incentives for creating private-sector apprenticeship programs, increase access to adult education, create more charter schools and continue to fully fund Maryland’s K-12 public school system.
  • Transportation infrastructure. Fully fund the Red Line in the Baltimore region and the Purple Line in Maryland’s D.C. suburbs. Develop a 10-year strategy for state investments in all areas of transportation and ensure balanced funding of highway and transit needs.
  • STEM education. Focus on attracting and retaining high-quality educators in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. Increase opportunities for real-world STEM among middle school and high school students and ensure that Maryland’s K-12 STEM curriculum is aligned with college and business standards.
  • Tax fairness and competitiveness. Strategically reform Maryland’s tax structure. Implement a single-sales factor for determining income tax for all Maryland corporations, incrementally reduce the corporate income tax rate and reduce the income tax burden on business owners of pass-through entities such as LLCs. Study the feasibility of incrementally reducing Maryland’s personal income tax rates.
  • Government transparency and accountability. Create an independent commission for congressional and legislative redistricting and improve fiscal analysis of the impact of legislative proposals on business costs.

The Greater Baltimore Committee is an organization of business and civic leaders dedicated to developing solutions to problems that affect Maryland and the Baltimore region’s competitiveness for economic growth, job creation and quality of life.

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