The bill deadlines have passed. As of today, legislators have introduced approximately 2,633 bills: 1,030 Senate bills and 1,603 House bills. There were a number of tech and tax related bills heard this week.

On Thursday, the House Ways & Means Committee held hearings on more than a dozen tax bills will either a direct or indirect impact on the Maryland Tech Council. While noting our opposition to House Bill 222: Income Tax Rates – Capital Gains Income, House Bill 224: Opportunity Zone Tax Deduction Reform Act of 2020, and House Bill 295: Corporate Income Tax – Combined Reporting, MTC focused it’s oral testimony and advocacy on House Bill 223: End Ineffective Business Subsidies Act of 2020 and House Bill 565: Income Tax – Business and Economic Development Tax Credits – Termination. House Bill 223 would terminate the biotechnology tax credit while House Bill 565 would terminate both the biotechnology tax credit and the cybersecurity tax credit, among other changes. Marty Rosendale, Doug White, and multiple officials at the Department of Commerce offered compelling testimony in opposition to the bills. MTC has key allies on the Revenues subcommittee of the House Ways & Means Committee, but aggressive lobbying in the following weeks will be required to protect these tax credit programs.

In the Senate, the Budget & Taxation Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 397: Opportunity Zone Tax Deduction Reform Act of 2020, which provides a sales and use tax exemption for the sale of qualified data center personal property for use at a qualified data center. Jason Silva provided oral testimony on behalf of the Maryland Tech Council as part of a panel organized by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce. Despite making compelling points in support of the bill, there remains skepticism of the bill in a year where the General Assembly is looking to raise revenue to fund the Kirwan education reform recommendations.

Also heard this week was Senate Bill 201: Commercial Law – Personal Information Protection Act – Revisions, which expands the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act by covering additional types of personal information to include genetic information and nonpublic social media information. It also expands the types of businesses that are required to implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices to protect personal information from unauthorized use and shortens the period within which businesses must provide required notifications to consumers after a data breach. MTC submitted written opposition testimony. This bill and others will be further discussed in an informal Senate workgroup to determine which, if any, provisions relating to online consumer data is ripe for passage.

In addition, MTC submitted written testimony in support of Senate Bill 302: Joint Committee on Workforce Development, which establishes a committee to evaluate the condition of Maryland’s workforce programs, especially relating to career and technology education. MTC also registered its support for Senate Bill 553: Universities at Shady Grove Regional Higher Education Center (USG), which establishes USG in the University System of Maryland.

On Friday, Marty Rosendale gave a presentation to Madame Speaker Adrienne Jones and the Baltimore County House Delegation on the status of the biotech, life science, and cybersecurity industries in Maryland, including emerging opportunities in Baltimore County. He was well received, and the delegation was appreciative that the Maryland Tech Council is better establishing itself with more of a statewide identity under Marty’s leadership.

Next week, with the exception of opposing two Senate bills, Maryland Tech Council will be supporting a number of bills designed to help the life science and information technology sectors:

  • House Bill 840: Joint Committee on Workforce Development
  • House Bill 489: Income Tax Credit – Student Employees
  • House Bill 514: Maryland Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer Incentive Program
  • House Bill 521: Maryland Small Business Innovation Research Technical Assistance Program – Establishment
  • Senate Bill 443: Consumer Protection – Security Features for Connected Devices
  • Senate Bill 957: Maryland Online Consumer Protection Act