Monday, February 3rd is the Senate introduction date. Senate bills introduced after this date are referred to the Senate Rules Committee. There has been an uptick in the rate of bills introduced. It will continue to rise until the House introduction date on Friday, February 7th.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020:
The House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on House Bill 45: Economic Development – Opportunity Zone Incentives – Alteration of the More Jobs for Marylanders and Opportunity Zone Enhancement Programs, the crossfile for Senate Bill 122. The bill, among other things, restricts eligibility for the enhanced benefits under the biotechnology investment incentive and cybersecurity investment incentive tax credit programs to investments made in a company that is established or expands into an opportunity zone on or after March 1, 2018. Though MTC provided written testimony in opposition, the Committee generally favored the bill, as it was perceived as unnecessary for a biotech or cybersecurity company already in operation before the creation of the opportunity zones to then receive an enhanced benefit under the program simply for the good fortune of already being located in the zone.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020:
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee held hearings on several bills that impact MTC’s members. Senate Bill 2: Digital Advertising Gross Revenues – Taxation imposes a tax on annual gross revenues derived from digital advertising services including advertisement services on a digital interface in the State. MTC opposed the bill, as it would hurt many member companies, who use digital advertising as the leading form of advertising, and who would likely suffer the economic burden of such a tax. It was clear from the testimony from both proponents and opponents as well as questions raised by the Committee members that this bill has serious unresolved issues, which will at minimum require extensive evaluation by a workgroup of interested parties.
The committee also heard Senate Bill 311: Corporate Tax Fairness Act of 2020, which applies a combined reporting method for purposes of the State’s corporate income tax apportionment formula, beginning in tax year 2020. MTC noted its opposition to this bill. Lastly, the Committee heard Senate Bill 223: Commission on Tax Policy, Reform, and Fairness, which must make recommendations regarding changes to the State’s revenue structure that

  1. promote job growth and economic development;
  2. ensure fairness, simplicity, and transparency;
  3. provide a stable, balanced, and reliable revenue stream, while not reducing services; and
  4. create a business-friendly environment.

MTC provided testimony in support of the bill, but requested an amendment to be included as a member to the Commission. In the search for new revenue, it remains to be seen which among the many tax proposals the Committee views as the best vehicles to promote to fund the Kirwan Commission education reform recommendations.