The Howard County Chamber of Commerce (HCCC) is the preeminent voice for the business community in Howard County, advocating for pro-business policy and free enterprise. The 2017 Issues for Legislative Action exemplify what HCCC believes to be of priority and importance to the business community, both locally and statewide.
• Labor, Employment & Health Care
Business owners have been inundated with workplace regulations that have costly penalties coupled with proposed legislation that could potentially lead to a decrease in jobs. In efforts to keep labor- and employment-related costs at a manageable level, HCCC supports legislation that achieves the following:
• Promotes workplace policies that will enhance, not inhibit, economic growth and job creation
• Advocates for legislation that will be cost-effective to administer and financially feasible for small and growing businesses
• Educates employers about pertinent state labor and employment laws and regulations that affect business
• Budget, Finance & Taxation
While Maryland has innumerable assets that many states envy, it has struggled with its business reputation in recent years. Questions consistently have been raised concerning the tax and regulatory climate. As such, HCCC supports ongoing examination of the current tax base, tax rates and compliance requirements to ensure the Maryland business environment is fair and competitive to businesses.
• Education & Workforce Development
A sound and well-funded K–12 education system is paramount to business competitiveness, thriving communities and an enhanced quality of life. Institutions of higher learning such as technical colleges, community colleges and traditional four-year schools must receive adequate support for operating and capital budgets so they can prepare our current and future workforce.
• Energy, Environment & Land Use
Preparing for future population and business growth means protecting our state’s lakes and streams, investing in alternative energy sources and encouraging eco-friendly and sustainable development.
The ability to move goods and products in an efficient and timely manner is critical for industry. Moreover, access to jobs and employment centers is key for Maryland families seeking better wages leading to improved opportunities. Businesses and communities prosper when streets and arterials are properly maintained. The Chamber supports legislation that restores the sharing of state transportation funds to local governments via the Highway User Revenue (HUR). In addition, HCCC calls for the development of a comprehensive transportation plan that sets forth related funding priorities for roads and transportation alternatives such as Bus Rapid Transit;
The Chamber’s legislative agenda is driven by input from its members and discussed by the Legislative and Government Affairs Committee. This committee is composed of members from the business community that meet regularly with Chamber staff to analyze pending legislation and its effects on business. For more information, or a copy of the Chamber’s “2017 Issues for Legislative Action,” go to www.howardchamber.com.