Economic Difficulties Extend Beyond County Lines

MACo submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee in support of House Bill 1594, Economic Development – More Jobs for Marylanders – Tier I Eligibility”, on March 7, 2018.

This legislation would extend access to economic development benefits under the More Jobs for Marylanders programs to geographical areas that share a zip code with jurisdictions that currently qualify. Most counties do not register as a “qualified distressed” county, many have areas that do suffer from disinvestment. This bill adds some flexibility in observing that distressed areas are not always limited to political boundaries and could greatly benefit from this program.

From MACo Testimony:

Counties understand and respect that the State has a policy interest in designating certain areas as targets for economic incentives. That said, MACo generally supports legislative initiatives which promote greater access to economic development incentives, as well as access based upon designated geographical regions other than county boundaries. While most counties are not “qualified distressed” or “Tier 1” counties, most have at least some communities that suffer from disinvestment. While designating certain counties as targeted “qualified distressed counties” clearly has merit, it is imperfect in that it fails to account for distressed areas within other counties which could also significantly benefit from targeted programs.

SB 1594 offers a reasonable recognition that a “distressed area” may not strictly be confined within political boundaries, and creates some flexibility in targeting them in distressed areas spilling across county lines.”

For more information, follow MACo’s advocacy efforts during the 2018 legislative session here.