Recap - Maryland General Assembly 2016 Legislative Session Midway Report

Posted Date: 
March 14, 2016

Guest Speaker: John Stierhoff, Partner, Brian Quinn, Counsel, Venable LLP
Topic: Maryland General Assembly 2016 Legislative Session Midway Report

March 14, 2016 Recap  

The Vice-Chair of the Legislative Affairs Meeting, Leslie Weber, welcomed MCCC members and introduced John Stierhoff and Brian Quinn of Venable LLP who serve as MCCC’s contract lobbyists in Annapolis for state advocacy. 

There are 2,806 bills that have been introduced in this 90-day session, which is about 20% more than past sessions.  But not much has made it out of committee and on to the floor. If a bill does not pass out of committee and go to the floor, it cannot automatically “cross over” to the other body. Instead, it must pass through a Rules Committee. 

MCCC is following about 200 pieces of legislation that address a broad range of subjects including tax reform, regulations, infrastructure and employment law.  MCCC has provided testimony on many of these bills. Testimony can be found at http://www.mcccmd.com/advocacy/state-maryland-advocacy/2016-legislative-session

In addition to individual pieces of legislation, the General Assembly is also working on the budget.  The Governor proposed a $42 billion budget with about $17 million allocated for General Funds.  There is a $450 million surplus and the Governor has proposed to use some of it for capital projects at higher education institutions, including a project at The Universities at Shady Grove.  There is continued talk of some form of further tax relief.

Spending on K-12 education is mostly mandated but the Governor has provided increases in construction and the Geographic Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funding as well as funds for community colleges.

A number of tax credits are being considered including:

  • Expanding the R&D tax credit program sponsored by Senator King
  • Angel Investor Tax Credit
  • Manufacturing Enterprise Zones (sponsored by Senator Manno)
  • Extending the sunset for a tax credit for Security Clearances
  • Earned Income Tax Credit

In addition, the fourteen recommendations from the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission (The Augustine Commission) resulted in eight pieces of legislation that address taxation issues in a variety of ways.  Two of those proposals – lowering the Corporate Tax Rate and accelerating the recoupling of the State estate tax with the federal rate – are only supported by the Senate.  There has not been movement on any of these bills since there hearing at the beginning of the month.

In Montgomery County, competing bills that address ongoing challenges with the ordering system at the Department of Liquor Control were both withdrawn and the Delegation sent a letter to County Executive Ike Leggett requesting that he establish a task force and report back to the General Assembly delegation by the next session.

Mr. Stierhoff and Mr. Quinn also touched on the Open Transportation Investment Act which tries to score transportation projects, the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, Public Safety and Policing, and Noah’s Law.

Attendees asked about Earned Sick Leave and Family Medical Leave, the “Hometown Heroes” tax credit, Student Loan Refinancing, Business Improvement Districts, and allocating appropriate resources to the Comptroller to upgrade and modernize the systems they use.

In the Chamber’s lobby area, there was a representative from the Montgomery County Board of Elections who provided demonstrations and literature about the voting machines that will be used in the upcoming primary on April 26.

For upcoming MCCC Member Exchange Meetings, click here.

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