Lower Shore businesses and organizations are deeply concerned about proposed new state-imposed employer mandates in the upcoming Maryland General Assembly session.
In addition to onerous employer mandates, critical issues including greater investment in rural broadband, state investment in workforce development for the Shore and the resolution of interpretation issues surrounding the new “digital downloads tax” passed last year.
The business community is concerned about any new taxes for the use of gasoline, natural gas and other greenhouse gases, increasing costs to taxpayers while having no impact on emissions originating in neighboring states.
The Chamber opposes any new taxes on services not currently listed in Maryland law.
The regional business community continues to be adversely impacted by the pandemic. Legislative leaders in Annapolis must recognize the value of our small businesses throughout Maryland and craft legislation to promote a vibrant business environment across the board.
2022 priorities, issues
- Cyber & Technology: Encourage and remove barriers to the critical deployment of broadband across the lower shore, including 5G accessibility. Ensure that the expansion process is transparent, competitive and market based to ensure equitable access to all parties.
- Data Privacy: The SACC opposes attempts to create new customer data privacy regulations that cause confusion and inconsistencies for businesses that operate in multiple states and generate a false sense of security for consumers.
- Workforce Development: Expand the pool of apprenticeship and career technical education opportunities for the next generation of workers. Expand the definition of a qualifying apprenticeship to capture a larger segment of the work training population and increase the number of employers which can access the related incentive programs.
- Energy and Environment: SACC opposes any new tax on businesses for the use of gasoline, natural gas and other greenhouse gases, substantially increasing costs to taxpayers – while having no impact on emissions originating in other states.
- Labor and Employment: Restrictive Scheduling – SACC opposes unreasonably restrictive shift scheduling requirements.
- Paid Family Leave Benefits: SACC opposes another paid leave mandate for employers, as well as expansive leave entitlements.
- Corporations and Business Entities: Filing Fees, Combined Reporting and Throwback Rule – The SACC opposes the adoption of tax reapportionment schemes such as instituting the “throwback rule.” Adopting mandatory unitary combined reporting, or any other system which creates a systematic and economic disadvantage for businesses. Combined reporting is problematic in uncertain and poor economic climates and will result in lower revenues for the state.
- SACC opposes any efforts to expand the sales tax on services not currently listed in Maryland law.
- SACC supports resolving the lingering implementation and interpretation issues surrounding the ‘digital downloads tax’ to ease business compliance, avoid unintended taxation and safeguard legislative intent.
- Transportation and Infrastructure: SACC supports policies that ensure state investment in all critical infrastructure projects, and all priorities to improve safe and efficient movement of people and goods. This includes addressing the state’s structural deficit and addressing the transportation needs of underserved communities.
- Solvency of the Maryland Unemployment Trust Fund: SACC supports efforts by the state to ensure a healthy balance on the unemployment insurance trust fund as it rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic without further raising the premium rates for employers. Further, the SACC supports an unemployment insurance system that provides transparency for employers and benefit recipients.
Bill Chambers is President and CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce.