The House Ways and Means Committee voted favorable on HB 742 / SB 600, Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone Program, with a series of amendments to address local government concerns and ensure that local governments are involved in determining the designation and boundaries of a RISE Zone.
The intent of this legislation is to provide a tool to spur economic development and revitalize areas surrounding anchor educational institutions and nonprofit entities. As introduced, local governments could provide comment on the creation and boundaries of a zone, but had no approval authority, although the bills mandated local governments to provide property tax credits within the RISE Zone. To address this issue, MACo supported both bills will amendments to give local governments approval authority over the creation of a RISE Zone and to treat this program similar to the Enterprise Zone Tax Credit Program.
In an effort to address local government concerns, the Senate amended the bill to establish a two-track system. If a county or municipality applies for a RISE Zone as a joint applicant with the qualified institution, one set of tax credits is applied. If the county or municipality is not a joint applicant, another less generous set of tax credits is applied. However, these efforts did not fully address our concerns.
Working jointly with the Maryland Municipal League, MACo drafted a series of amendments and began working with the House Ways and Means Committee to incorporate them into the bill. The Committee voted the bill favorably yesterday incorporating the MACo and MML amendments. The bill as amended:
- Requires a qualified institution to apply jointly with a local government for the designation of a RISE Zone
- Limits the duration of the designation of the RISE Zone and the tax credit amount unless the local government approves a greater credit amount
- Ensures that RISE Zones do not overlap with other areas designated by a local government where tax increment financing is used
- Protects local governments comprehensive plans, zoning ordinances, and other land use policies
HB 742 /SB 600, as amended, will be reported to House this morning and upon final passage, sent back over to the Senate for consideration. If the Senate does not concur with the House amendments, a conference committee will be appointed to resolve the differences.
MACo’s Senate Testimony on SB 600
MACo’s House Testimony on SB 600