This morning, I attended a press conference where Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch announced a joint legislative agenda for business and economic development.
The Joint Legislative Business and Economic Development Agenda includes:
- Private sector commission to review the state’s economic development support and business climate
- Reduced tax zones to support investment around anchor institutions (RISE Zones)
- Re-coupling the Estate Tax
- New cyber seed investment fund
- Leveraging public and private sector capital for higher-education research endowments
- Programs to improve customer service
- Improved transparency on tax forms
- Entrepreneur support and skill development in cyber & other innovation economy sectors
It is refreshing and encouraging to see the state’s top legislative leaders come together to support an agenda that is so heavily focused on economic development. As the leading voice to improve Maryland’s business competitiveness, an effort that the GBC initiated in 2010 with our report, “Gaining a Competitive Edge,” this type of effort befits many of the eight core pillars identified for economic growth and job creation.
The joint agenda announced by President Miller and Speaker Busch touches on these pillars:
- Government leadership that unites with business as a partner. The joint agenda communicates positive support for business and reflects the beginning of a strategic plan for business growth and job creation.
- Workforce that is highly educated and meets Maryland’s business needs. A leveraging of public and private sector capital for higher education research endowments is a positive step forward.
- Regulatory policies that are streamlined, stable and predictable. Any program that enhances customer service would be an improvement.
- Tax structure that is fair and competitive. Re-coupling the Estate Tax with the federal level is a good first step towards achieving the more competitive tax structure our state’s businesses need to be successful.
- Strategic and effective state investments in business growth. Establishing reduced tax zones around anchor institutions and creating a new cyber seed investment fund are welcome measures to nurture private investment in industry growth.
It is our hope that the newly formed private sector commission will come to many of the same recommendations and conclusions the GBC has about our state’s business climate and will advocate for corrective action, where necessary, to continue to make Maryland a better place to do business.
We commend these legislative leaders for their recognition of the importance of making Maryland more competitive and look forward to working with Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch in the months to come.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this or any other issue pertinent to business today.
Donald C. Fry
GBC President & CEO