MACo’s Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, testified in the House Economic Matters committee on February 28 in favor of HB 859, streamlining trader’s and chain store license fees with a flat fee. MACo suggested two amendments: one to make the fees equal in all counties, and one to help out small businesses which may see an increase in fees under the bill.
From MACo’s testimony:
MACo supports this bill, which streamlines a dated fee structure and relieves businesses of the requirement to undertake burdensome processes to determine applicability of the appropriate license fee.
While Baltimore City and Baltimore County have successfully updated their fee structures in recent years, most counties have not changed their trader’s fees to accommodate for inflation in several decades. As such, MACo respectfully requests that the Committee amend this bill to set one fee for all counties and municipalities, making the fee $325 in all jurisdictions. This further simplifies the bill and ensures that businesses are treated equally in all areas of the state.
Counties would support an additional amendment which sought to hold harmless small businesses which pay lower fees than $325 under existing law. Should a small business opt to conduct an inventory of its stock-in-trade to affirmatively prove that its fee should remain the same as it has been under existing law, counties would be willing to accept the lower fee in an effort to ensure that those smaller businesses did not have to shoulder the burden of paying higher fees as a result of the improvements made under this bill.