Greater Baltimore Committee priorities for 2010 General Assembly

Preserving Maryland’s bioscience investment tax credits and other business incentives, support for charter schools and higher education resources, protecting the state’s transportation funding from being used for other purposes, and nurturing the growth of small businesses are among the Greater Baltimore Committee’s priorities for the 2010 session of the Maryland General Assembly, which convenes this week on January 13.

“Recognizing that business, not government, creates jobs, our elected leaders must stay focused on policies that nurture business development to position Maryland for strong growth coming out of the recession,” said GBC president and CEO Donald C. Fry. 

Other GBC priorities include support for stable and predictable energy regulatory policies, opposition to electricity re-regulation proposals, and support for health care wellness programs and for coordinating and strengthening the criminal justice system’s approach toward gun-crime offenders.

Following is a summary of the GBC’s 2010 legislative priorities:

Bioscience. Dedicate at least $6 million to funding tax credits for biotech investment; support Governor O’Malley’s “Bio 2020” plan to quadruple available biotech investment tax credits by 2013 and invest more than $1 billion in bioscience industry growth in 10 years; and continue state investment in the development of research parks.

Education. Nurture growth and expansion of quality charter schools through broadening school autonomy and funding; enact alternative paths for teacher certification; pass legislation to allow state competitiveness to secure federal “Race to the Top” funds; continue strong state investment in higher education, including community colleges to enhance access to higher education and customized job training.

Transportation. Strengthen state transportation funding and management; create a “firewall” to protect state’s transportation fund from being used for other purposes; fast-track BRAC transportation resources; and eliminate existing laws restricting use of state funds to pursue a maglev system. A GBC task force on transportation funding and management is expected to issue recommendations for long-term strategies soon.

Growing Maryland’s economic base. Foster the development of minority-owned and women-owned businesses; support the Governor’s proposal to enhance access to small business loans and loan guarantees; support proposed tax credits for hiring unemployed workers; strengthen state funding for business financing programs and for small business development.

Preserving a competitive business climate. Extend business tax credits for commercial revitalization of historic buildings and for research and development; oppose proposals to increase or restructure corporate taxes; and support measures to ease the burden on businesses of the pending tripling of unemployment insurance taxes.

Healthcare. Foster the development of wellness programs for employees; oppose measures that restrict scientific research and job creation in the healthcare industry; promote affordable healthcare availability.

Energy and environment. Support stable and predictable regulatory policies that balance environmental concerns with the need to strengthen energy resources; oppose electricity re-regulation and its negative unintended consequences; and expedite the development of alternative energy sources; support business and consumer energy conservation initiatives.

Public safety. Continue state funding for drug treatment, programs to reduce ex-offender recidivism, and to remove barriers to ex-offender employment; coordinate and strengthen criminal justice system approaches to reducing gun crime; and work to reduce illegal alcohol consumption by minors in Baltimore City.