ED Funds on the Chopping Block
Just as they are in many states, the legislature in Maryland is struggling to pass a balanced budget before this session wraps up next week. One item set to get chopped is economic development funds.
Maryland's Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund is likely to be cut by $10 million in 2009 and at least $9.5 million in 2010. Regarding the State's ED fund The Hagerstown (MD) Herald-Mail reported:
"Since mid-2000, the fund has been tapped for nearly $160 million... this money has helped retain 16,171 jobs, create 13,609 and spark private investment totaling $1.6 billion in buildings and equipment."
Unfortunately, economic development funds, those monies that keep and create jobs, are a likely suspect for cuts.
Is ED funding under attack in your state? Is it directly threatening your chamber? Leave a comment and tell us about it.
Opening Day = Economic Impact
It is finally spring and the prospect of opening day has thousands of baseball fans salivating. The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA) reminds us that, in addition to bats and mitts, our communities can look forward to dollars and cents.
A study released Friday by the St. Louis RCGA estimates the economic impact of the Cardinals at more than $280 million. That's more than just tickets and hot dogs; its lodging, transportation, dining and retail for 3 million fans, plus employment at the stadium and all the hospitality venues supported by the games. Click HERE or visit the RCGA page for more details.
As far as sports are concerned, I've got a one track mind until after tonight's NCAA Championship game in Detroit. Go Heels!
Maryland Internet Sales Tax
Legislators in Maryland have proposed a tax on internet commerce to help plug budget deficit gaps.
The tax is modeled on a 2008 internet sales tax that passed in New York in 2008. Legal challenge by Amazon and Overstock.com to the New York tax failed; an appeal to that ruling is pending. According to the Gaithersburg, MD Gazette:
The sales tax would be collected by affiliates of Amazon and similar retailers based in Maryland that earn commissions for sending Maryland customers to those retailers through referrals, such as a banner on their Internet sites.
The Maryland Chamber opposes this tax which it says "attempts to end run constitutional prohibitions on state sales tax nexus." California and Hawaii are considering a similar tax. This is certainly a contagious issue.
Click HERE to read more.
Card Check Gone? Not by a Long Shot.
If you think Specter's announcement that he opposes Card Check means that the issue will go away then think again.
According to a recent article from Politico, unions will use the upcoming legislative break to rekindle the battle:
Richard L. Trumka, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, told POLITICO during an interview at the group’s headquarters: “We hope to take good advantage of the recess to reconnect with our members. The other side is declaring victory, but this is just starting.”
The US Chamber continues to work on this high priority issue, and is preparing new TV ads and running print ads in select markets.
Check out Politico's article: Unions renew battle over union law
ACCE DIALogue Featuring Sen. Trent Lott
ACCE is hosting a DIALogue teleseminar featuring the Honorable Trent Lott on April 14 at 1pm eastern. This is a rare chance to hear a seasoned DC veteran discuss the most pressing federal issues of the day - stimulus funds, future appropriations, and business/government relations.
Expect candid insight and plenty of opportunity for interaction and questions.
For more information and to register, click HERE.
Hawaii Card Check
The Card Check bill may have hit a speed bump in Washington last week, but in Honolulu it is still going strong. The Hawaii Legislature is moving forward with their own version of Card Check (SB 1621) at the State level.
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle is critical of the bill:
"At this time it would be one more negative aspect of doing business in Hawaii and we're trying to turn that around and create jobs right now."
"We think that's an important right in America, for a worker to be able to make that decision (whether to unionize) and be able to make it in the privacy of the voting booth, not because someone approaches you and asks you to sign up."
Lingle, who vetoed a similar bill last year, has promised to another veto if it passes in 2009.
For more on the Card Check Bill in Hawaii, click HERE.