MACo Associate Director, Barbara Zektick, worked with bill sponsor Senator Addie Eckardt to propose a local option for tax exemptions from the agricultural tourism industry for Senate Bill 716, heard by the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on Thursday, March 2.
MACo’s testimony states,
MACo supports this bill with the sponsor’s amendments. Many counties are interested in promoting agricultural tourism in their jurisdictions as a means to support the agricultural industry. In fact, Baltimore and Harford counties already exempt such activities from their admissions and amusement taxes, through state legislation.
MACo generally supports legislation which enables counties to authorize local tax exemptions by local ordinance, as opposed to bills which mandate those exemptions across the board. Mandated tax exemptions require each county to forego meaningful local revenues to support essential public services, even if the exemption does not serve the best interests of that particular county. Particularly, but not exclusively, during times of economic uncertainty and revenue projection shortfalls, counties require full authority to balance their budgets as they deem most fit.
Follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2017 legislative session here.