Legislative Priorities For Maryland 2015

The Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, a nonprofit member organization of some 400 businesses, is committed to furthering a vibrant and diversified local economy in which its members can grow and prosper. 

 

We believe a thriving business community brings:

  • More private sector jobs for our citizens;
  • Broader tax base to support public services;
  • Increased prosperity and opportunity for all.    

Through its legislative advocacy efforts, the Chamber seeks to foster the growth of existing businesses, encourage new business development, improve regional competitiveness, and highlight the business community’s contributions to the quality of life in Montgomery County and Maryland. 

 

The Chamber believes that our focus for the future must be on these five areas:

  1. Fostering a tax structure that stimulates business growth and entrepreneurship;
  2. Removing regulatory barriers to business success;
  3. Employment policies that encourage private sector job growth;
  4. A fair return on tax investment for Silver Spring taxpayers;
  5. Transportation infrastructure that promotes and assures economic vitality.

 

 

FOSTERING A TAX STRUCTURE THAT STIMULATES BUSINESS GROWTH AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

 

A tax system that assures a robust business sector is critical to generating the revenue necessary to provide the services Marylanders expect.

 

The Chamber advocates for:

1. A tax system that is stable, fair, and competitive with surrounding states.

2. Tax reform for small business relief.

3. Responsible County and State budgets that address shortfalls by tackling the structural deficit, systemic pension and employee benefits reform, and general spending restraints.

 

The Chamber opposes:

1. New taxes on business, including increased corporate taxes, alternative minimum taxes, mandatory combined reporting, and expansion of sales tax to business and professional services.

2. Income tax increases that drive high income earners out of the State.

3. Authorizing local governments to impose discriminatory taxes on businesses.

 

 

REMOVING REGULATORY BARRIERS TO BUSINESS SUCCESS

 

A regulatory structure that is consisten, fair, and predictable will encourage business growth and job creation to build Maryland's economy.

 

The Chamber advocates for: 

1. Considering the cumulative impact of regulations on the cost of doing business, to streamline and minimize burdens on job creators.

2. Assuring regulatory uniformity across Maryland.

3. Delaying implementation of new regulations for 18 months to give businesses time to budget.

 

The Chamber opposes:

1. New regulations that "change the rules" and make it difficult for businesses to plan with consistency.

2. New regulatory measures that increase the cost and complexity of doing business in Maryland, including an increase in the annual reporting fees.

 

 

EMPLOYMENT POLICIES THAT ENCOURAGE PRIVATE SECTOR JOB GROWTH

 

Policies that encourage private sector job creation and expansion will contribute to the economic vitality of the State. Government mandated "one-size fits all" employment policies impede an employer's ability to provide competitive incentives that meet the demands of an ever-changing economic climate. Measures to regulate employment practices must be less burdensome and more business-friendly, and create an environment to expand and retain existing firms.

 

The Chamber advocates for:

1. Preserving employers' ability to manage their workforces and construct employment, wage, and benefit policies that are tailored to best suit the needs of their employees.

2. Policies that allow employers to obtain the information they need to make hiring decisions, including credit history and criminal history.

3. Promoting the private health insurance market as fair competition to the Health Benefit Exchange and limiting state health insurance benefit mandates to the federally required benefits package.

 

The Chamber opposes:

1. Redefining overtime as more than eight hours per day, instead of more than 40 hours per week.

2. Expanding "misclassification of employees," "shift break," and mandatory paid leave mesaures, including paid sick leave for part-time workers.

 

 

A FAIR RETURN ON TAX INVESTMENT FOR SILVER SPRING TAXPAYERS

 

Continuing economic challenges threaten the success of the County and the vitality of Silver Spring. Montgomery County taxpayers supply almost one quarter of revenue for the state’s entire budget.  Yet on average, for every dollar paid in state taxes, our county gets back less than 20 cents in services. Greater investment, continued support, and incentives that promote economic development (especially in East County areas) are necessary to assure a vibrant and robust business climate that will help reverse alarming trends of increased poverty and unmet community needs, while generating needed revenue for the State and local government.

 

The Chamber advocates for:

1. A better return on investment to the taxpayers of Silver Spring and Montgomery County that is comparable to the percentage of State taxes paid.

2. Continued investment in the AFI/Silver Theatre as a means of furthering economic growth for Silver Spring.

3. Continued investment in Montgomery College's operating and capital budgets in support of workforce development to create more jobs in the region.

 

 

ADDRESSING TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

 

As the economic engine of Maryland, Montgomery County needs innovative transporation policies that enhance transportation funding to benefit employment, business, and quality of life.

 

The Chamber advocates for:

1. Building the Purple Line to drive economic development.

2. Dedicated and increased regional funding for Metro and WMATA.

3. Creating an Infrastructure Bank to assure adequate funds for roads, bridges, and transit.