RECAP: Joint Legislative Affairs and Economic Development Member Meeting - Senator Madaleno and Delegate Hixson

Posted Date: 
September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013 – Joint Legislative Affairs and Economic Development Member Meeting

Guest Speakers: Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Sheila Hixson

Vice-Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee Tom McElroy together with Co-Chair Josh Bokee and Bill Robertson, Vice Chair for Economic Development welcomed MCCC Members and introduced our guest speakers, Senator Rich Madaleno and Delegate Sheila Hixson, Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

Hixson and Madaleno provided an overview of the current economic competitiveness landscape in Maryland and Montgomery County in light of actions from the most recent legislative session. Hixson expressed that economic competitiveness is an important issue to the Legislature and they strive to keep businesses in Maryland. She announced that a special commission will make a report about corporate income taxes and believes that there will be improvements this year, especially for small businesses. She also summarized legislative bills that were enacted in 2013.

To stay competitive, Maryland will need to continue to improve the infrastructure and transit systems. Hixson thanked the Montgomery County Chamber for its work on getting the transportation tax passed. Madaleno discussed the benefit of Public Private Partnerships. He said Maryland needs to find the best way to move forward in the development of smart infrastructure and transit is with diverse teams.

Madaleno stated that while Maryland is a high tax state, it also is the wealthiest state in the country with $61,000 median income. He described Maryland as a human resource-based economy, rather than a natural resource-based economy, such as in Texas. In order to maintain a top notch educational system and continue to build a strong workforce and economy, it is important that funding remain strong for education.

This prompted members to discuss the need to create jobs that will attract 20-35 year olds to live and be successful in Montgomery County. Jobs are needed to retain a young and talented workforce. 

Members asked Hixson and Madaleno to discuss what the Legislature can do to remove barriers for doing business in Montgomery County. Madaleno said that because of the charter government structure, local jurisdictions have autonomy to enact its own legal tax policies, which is not the case in Virginia where the State has the authority. This structure makes it difficult for the state to play a significant hand in county government policies. The State, however, can find ways to overrule local jurisdictions. Vice Chair McElroy requested predictability in tax and code-based decisions so companies can plan and be sustainable.

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