The 90-day 2016 legislative session has crossed the halfway point. What it means for your Maryland small business.
An Update from Your NFIB/Maryland State Director
Dear NFIB/Maryland Members,
The 90-day 2016 legislative session has crossed the halfway point. There is a little less than a month left before the General Assembly adjourns on April 11. This week is particularly important with a procedural deadline looming on March 21 for the House and Senate to pass legislation they want the opposite chamber to take up. Here’s a brief update on the major issues facing the small business community that are still outstanding:
• Tax relief and fee reductions for small business owners: Both the Administration and legislative leaders have offered various proposals aimed at providing a much needed boost to the bottom line of small business owners. House Bill 459 (HB459) is part of Governor Hogan’s legislative package. This bill will reduce or eliminate a variety of fees associated with professional licenses and permits. Among them are reductions to the Maryland Home Improvement Commission’s license and application fees and cuts to Weights and Measures fees paid by the auto repair industry among others. Legislative leadership has presented income tax relief with Senate Bill 841 (SB841). Under this bill, small business owners filing as a pass-through-entity on their annual tax returns will have the first $20,000 of income exempt from the State’s income tax. A pass-through-entity includes a sole proprietorship, an S corporation, or a limited liability company. The exemption applies to individuals claiming $200,000 or less and married couples claiming $250,000 or less in income on their returns. NFIB is supporting both measures.
• Mandated paid sick leave: The House and Senate held hearings on HB580/SB472 earlier this month. The business community made an excellent case on the devastating impact this legislation will have on businesses in Maryland. NFIB launched an advocacy campaign at our Small Business Day on February 16 using member videos, targeted ads, and social media letting legislators and voters know the real consequences of forcing small businesses to provide paid leave. It has been wildly successful and forced legislators to address the concerns of the business community. It is critical we keep the pressure on legislative leadership. Please visit the campaign’s webpage at www.NFIB.com/MDPaidLeave. Share it on your social media and most importantly, take action. NFIB is opposing this measure.
• Redundant “Fair Pay” legislation: Legislative leadership held a press conference earlier in the year indicating passage of this legislation would be a priority this session. Like mandated leave, both House and Senate committees held hearings on this redundant “fair pay” legislation earlier in the month. NFIB illustrated the dangers these bills – HB1003/SB481 – pose to employers throughout the state. As introduced, these bills would only complicate how employers hire and pay their workers and leave them more susceptible to costly and potentially crippling lawsuits. NFIB will continue to work with House and Senate committee members to ensure anything they try to pass addresses all the concerns of small business owners. NFIB is opposing this measure.
Please be sure to keep an eye out for alerts from your NFIB/Maryland team as session nears an end and legislation comes before the full House and Senate. You have done an excellent job so far in letting legislators know where you stand on the issues. It’s making an impact and we need to keep the pressure on them!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about what you read here or in the newspaper. Your NFIB/Maryland team is happy to help in any way we can.
All the best,
NFIB/Maryland State Director