On June 29, 2022, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors held a virtual forum for the three major candidates running for the Montgomery County Executive.
MCCC's Economic Development Committee Receives Tax Season Briefing by Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot
On March 2, 2022, MCCC's Economic Development Committee received a briefing from Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot. Comptroller Franchot, a former Montgomery County member of the House of Delegates, told MCCC members that Maryland's tax filing deadline was moved 90 days to July 15, 2022. The Comptroller said moving the date helps small businesses by essentially providing a short-term loan to taxpayers.
Comptroller Franchot also discussed the State of Maryland's budget surplus. He urged policymakers to commit $2B to the Rainy Day Fund to buffer the State from future economic downturns. He also suggested that $1B be committed to infrastructure projects, $2B for low-wage Marylanders, $500 million for childcare, and $500 million to small businesses.
Infrastructure and Land Use Committee Briefing: Briefing by Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA)
On February 8, 2022, the MCCC Infrastructure and Land Use Committee was joined by Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager and Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA). Mr. Wiedefeld, who has led WMATA since 2015, announced he is retiring in July.
Committee Co-Chairs Gus Bauman (Beveridge & Diamond PC) and Bob Elliott (Lantian Development) wished him well in his future endeavors. Mr. Wiedefeld does not know what comes next, but he plans to continue contributing in some capacity.
In his briefing to the Committee, Mr. Wiedefeld said that a top priority over the last two years is keeping Metro’s workforce safe, including vaccination or proof of testing for all Metro employees. Metro has a 93% vaccination rate and nearly 100% compliance with Metro’s requirements. Regarding ridership, Metro has seen a gradual return, but not to pre-pandemic levels. Ridership has also been disrupted by service interruptions. Metro will continue to encourage a return to ridership and is considering new fare initiatives as an incentive.
Mr. Wiedefeld closed his remarks by discussing several challenges and opportunities facing Metro, including the acknowledgement that the pandemic has changed travel patterns and the current financial model is no longer sustainable. Metro also needs to grapple with equity issues and their relation to quality transit services, including the delivery of an affordable and seamless network of bus and rail transit services that benefits all.
Economic Development Committee Briefing by Maryland Labor & Industry Commissioner Matthew S. Helminiak
MCCC’s Economic Development Committee met on February 2, 2022 and received a briefing from the Maryland Department of Labor’s Commissioner of Labor and Industry, Matthew S. Helminiak. Commissioner Helminiak has oversight over the division that plays the vital role of providing and protecting a healthy, safe, and equitable workplace for Maryland businesses.
The presentation covered:
He also provided a review of legislation his division is following during the 2022 legislation session of the Maryland General Assembly, including a bill to increase the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Maryland, following an increase on January 1, 2022, rises to $12.50 per hour for employers with 15 or more employees and $12.20 for employers with less than 15 employees.
Finally, Commissioner Helminiak provided an overview of the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which went into effect February 11, 2018 and requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide one hour of paid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours that an employee works. For smaller employers, the requirement is one hour of unpaid sick and safe leave for every 30 hours that an employee works.
On Thursday, January 20, 2022, MCCC hosted Montgomery County Office of Procurement Director Ash Shetty and Division Chief Grace Denno. They led a presentation on how to do business with Montgomery County Government.
The presentation covered:
The presentation was followed by a Q&A segment with participants who had general and specific questions regarding contracting with the Montgomery County, Maryland Government.
On Wednesday, December 8, 2021, MCCC and attorneys from Lerch, Early & Brewer, Chtd. shared best practices and specific actions you can take now to navigate the new vaccine mandates and marketplace realities.
This program is relevant to business owners, those in executive leadership roles, and human resources professionals.
Topics covered in this presentation include:
View the full presentation.
View the slides from the presentation.
PilieroMazza’s Sarah L. Nash, a partner in the Firm’s Labor & Employment Group, provided an overview of recent legal developments in vaccine and mask mandates and their implications for employers engaged in the federal sector. This program will be of interest to professionals who manage compliance requirements for their company.
Legislative Affairs Committee Briefing: Cannabis Legalization Efforts in Maryland
MCCC’s Legislative Affairs Committee held a meeting on October 14, 2021, where they were joined by Maryland Delegate Kathleen Dumais. Delegate Dumais represents District 15 in Montgomery County and is the Vice-Chair of the House Economic Matters Committee.
Delegate Dumais, a member of the House Cannabis Referendum and Legalization Workgroup, provided a briefing on the expected efforts by the Maryland General Assembly to legalize the use of recreational cannabis. This topic is one of the issues that will dominate the news cycle during the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session.
Montgomery County Chief Administrative Officer Briefs Legislative Affairs Committee on County Government Priorities and Budget
On July 14, 2021, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Affairs Committee welcomed guest speaker Richard Madaleno, Chief Administrative Officer for County Executive Marc Elrich.
Madaleno focused his remarks on COVID-19, the County's budget, and the County Executive's policy priorities. He shared that Montgomery County has vaccinated 91% of eligible residents with at least one dose, which is vital to economic recovery. The unemployment rate in Montgomery County prior to the pandemic was hovering around 3.1%. It peaked at 8.6% after the start of the pandemic and now sits at 5.6%.
Montgomery County Planning Board Chair Briefs Infrastructure and Land Use Committee on Thrive Montgomery 2050
On November 2, 2020, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Infrastructure and Land Use Committee held a meeting featuring a briefing on the Thrive Montgomery 2050 Plan.
Guest speakers were Montgomery County (MD) Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson and Montgomery Planning staff. A discussion regarding the future of Montgomery County followed.