Sen. George Edwards might introduce his own tax credit legislation during this year’s Maryland General Assembly session if he feels Gov. Larry Hogan’s isn’t expansive enough.
“I’ve been working on a tax credit scenario bill for businesses for the last several years,” he said during his prelegislative meeting for constituents at Garrett College in December. “Last year, as you know, we passed the manufacturing bill.”
The More Jobs for Marylanders Act (Senate Bill 317) was one of Hogan’s top priorities during the 2017 General Assembly. The program was created for new and existing manufacturers. It provides 10-year tax incentives for businesses that locate in Tier 1 counties and create at least five new jobs.
“I think it needs to be broadened out to include other kinds of businesses,” Edward said.
Tier 1 (high unemployment) jurisdictions include Baltimore City and Allegany, Dorchester, Somerset and Worcester counties.
The senator noted that Hogan plans to amend his original bill during the 2018 General Assembly, which would be of benefit to Garrett County.
The governor recently announced that his proposed legislation, the More Jobs for Marylanders Act 2.0, includes Garrett, Caroline, Kent and Wicomico counties. In addition to manufacturing, all eligible entities would be allowed to select up to three industries in which the tax credits would be applicable.
“This will give jurisdictions the ability to leverage their unique economic development goals and strengths to create even more jobs,” the Governor’s Office stated in a press release. “The expanded program will also increase the available funding for tax credits from $9 million to $15 million.”
The original act went into effect June 1. Since then, 17 companies have filed official tax credit applications with the Maryland Department of Commerce. As a result, approximately 450 new jobs will be created in the Tier 1 jurisdictions through the original act, according to the governor.
“It doesn’t quite go the distance I would like, so I may end up putting my own (bill) in to make it even broader,” Edwards said about More Jobs for Marylanders 2.0.
The senator indicated some people may feel that giving tax credits equates to giving money away and results in jurisdictions losing revenue. He disagrees.
“My approach is: Businesses aren’t here now. We’re not expanding now, so we’re not getting anything now,” Edwards said. “So, if we do give them a break for a period of time, we still won’t get anything for that period of time. But after that, we will get something.”
He indicated the purpose of providing tax credits is to entice businesses to locate to Garrett County or to keep companies here and help them expand their operations.
In 2016, Edwards introduced SB 680, “Biotechnology Investment Tax Credit — Investment in Qualified Companies in Low-Income Areas.” Under the proposal, qualified Maryland companies located in Baltimore City, and Garrett, Allegany, Dorchester and Somerset counties would receive tax credits for their investments.
Edwards’ SB 681, “Cybersecurity Investment Tax Credit — Investment in Qualified Companies in Low-Income Areas,” likewise, provided tax credits.
The bills were cross-filed in the House by Del. Jason Buckel of Allegany County and co-sponsored by Del. Wendell Beitzel. Amended versions of the House bills were approved by the House, Senate and Gov. Hogan.
The 2018 Maryland General Assembly convened last week in Annapolis. Constituents can contact Edwards by calling 1-800-492-7122, ext. 3565, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org