Today, February 18, Andrea Mansfield, MACo’s Legislative Director, testified before the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in support of SB 196, with amendments. This bill would establish the Rural Economic Development Program to spur economic activity in the rural parts of the state. The bill also changes the eligibility criteria for a county to participate in the One Maryland Tax Credit Program.
This new program would provide both state and local tax exemptions and offsets in seventeen counties over a ten-year time frame as an incentive for businesses to locate in those jurisdictions. Another component of the program creates an infrastructure fund to assist eight rural counties with building infrastructure necessary to encourage businesses to locate in these areas.
From MACo’s written testimony:
MACo believes this program is well intentioned, but is concerned that some jurisdictions are prohibited from participating, the job creation requirement is too rigorous for rural areas, and that the local property tax exemptions are mandated. In addition, it is concerned that the program could result in businesses relocating amongst regions of the state.
To address these concerns, MACo suggested amendments to do the following:
- Expand program participation to all 24 jurisdictions
- Authorize local jurisdictions to determine the amount and duration of the property tax credit
- Establish job creation metrics suited for rural and urban parts of the state
- Limit the tax incentives to businesses newly moving into or expanding within the state
For more on MACo’s 2015 Legislation, go to the Legislative Database.