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FOR 2013 LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP
In The News...
Business community warily eyes special session
Monday, May 7, 2012
Maryland business leaders have mixed feelings regarding the special session of the General Assembly, which is planned to begin May 14.
Kathleen T. Snyder, president and CEO of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, said she has heard frustration that there has to be a special session and, at the same time, heard the so-called “doomsday” budget that otherwise would be enacted in July is not the way to go about making strategic budget cuts.
“The chamber opposed the personal income tax increases that [legislative leaders] have apparently agreed on. We believe that will hurt Maryland’s competitiveness,” Snyder said. “We are talking with legislators about the personal income tax issue.”
Legislators passed a fiscal 2013 operating budget before the General Assembly’s regular session ended in April. But lawmakers did not approve bills that would have transferred funds, shared teacher pension costs with counties and raised taxes. That triggered a fiscal 2013 budget with $512 million in spending cuts that include education, the biotechnology investment and sustainable communities tax credit programs and the stem cell research fund.
The Tech Council of Maryland is lobbying legislative leaders and Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) office to let them know about the importance of the biotech investment tax credit and the stem cell research fund, said Brian Levine, vice president of government relations for the trade group.
“One cannot be confident of anything during a special session, so we are advocating for these important programs every day,” Levine said. “Eliminating either of these programs, we believe, would do irreparable harm to Maryland's innovation economy.”
With a compressed time frame in a special session, bills usually are introduced without the chance for public review and comment in committee hearings. In the 2007 special session, for example, the sales tax was extended to high-tech services, but was repealed months later in the regular session before it took effect.
“All kinds of mischief is possible in a special session,” Kimberly M. Burns, president of business advocacy organization Maryland Business for Responsive Government, said in a statement. “It’s a pretty sad day in Maryland when the legislature re-convenes just to raise taxes on hard working Maryland families and businesses to support its spending habit.”
With legislative leaders committed to making the session as quick as possible, Snyder said she doubted anything such the tech sales tax would be passed next week.
“But the chance is always there,” she said.
© 2012 Post-Newsweek Media, Inc./Gazette.Net