Business Monthly Features Q&A with Maryland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mary Kane
Dec 26, 2023
In a recent interview with The Business Monthly, Maryland Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mary D. Kane outlined the Maryland Chamber's top priorities heading into the 2024 legislative session. Chief among them are monitoring potential new business taxes, addressing the state's transportation funding issues, and making Maryland more competitive for companies and workers.
Read an excerpt from Kane's interview below, and visit The Business Monthly to read the full article.
What are your priorities as you prepare for the 2024 session?
We’re watching for any business taxes that the governor’s office or the general assembly wants to promote, as well as transportation funding solutions. The big issue is that our Transportation Trust Fund is diminishing with the push for electric vehicles since it depends on a gas tax. So there needs to be a way to replenish that fund.
But, of course, there are other issues, such as data privacy. We support a comprehensive approach that parallels successful policies in neighboring states. Others are military retirement tax relief, addressing the workforce shortage and help for our citizens who need child care. Our state’s low unemployment rate is partially due to parents leaving the workforce to care for their children.
But all told, we simply need increase Maryland’s competitiveness for business and workforce, especially when compared to neighboring states.
What are your thoughts on the state’s business tax structure?
To answer that question, I’ll simply say that the Tax Foundation Facts & Figures Report for 2023 Maryland ranked 46th out of the 50 states. So it’s very difficult to start a business in Maryland, build a business or to attract out-of-state organizations.
What makes it even harder is that Pennsylvania is lowering its corporate tax rate, which will make ours higher than any other state in the region.
What do you think about Maryland’s approach to transportation?
There will be much discussion about that topic during the session. I was appointed by Gov. Wes Moore to the Transportation Revenue & Infrastructure Needs (or TRAIN) Commission. Projects to be discussed include I-270, the American Legion Bridge, the Red Line and the Purple Line, to name a few.
Maryland doesn’t rank very well on roadways, infrastructure or maintenance. Transportation is critical for us to get goods out of the Port of Baltimore, get folks to work, get students to school, and get products and services to consumers, so we’d better get moving.
We want to take a comprehensive approach and want our legislators to understand what’s been effective in neighboring states. It is important to avoid a patchwork of laws. We need a clear set of rules.
How can Maryland improve child care availability?
By making it affordable while child care facilities stay sustainable. We’re examining different ways in which the legislature can help providers, and we’re thinking about how available office space might be repurposed to house child care facilities, for instance. If employers really want people to come back to the office, we need to address this issue.