2007 Business Tax Estimates
ACCE recently posted an interesting comparison study on the state and local taxes businesses paid in 2007. The study includes comparative data from all 50 states and also includes information on the amount of tax paid related to the level of service provided.
This useful study was produced by Ernst and Young in cooperation with The Council on State Taxation (COST). It is available for download by ACCE members on PolicyClearinghouse.org.
ACCE members, click HERE to link to this valuable research.
The Future of Chamber of Commerce Advocacy Efforts
Nearly five centuries ago, the political philosopher Machiavelli said, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."
Even five centuries later it is still a difficult and uncertain task to introduce a new thing. For some chambers of commerce, adopting an effective advocacy program is a new thing, fraught with difficulty and uncertainty.
However, I believe that the future calls for chambers to be the very best at representing their memberâ€™s interests with government. That demands an unprecedented investment of time and effort by chambers in implementing a government affairs program or taking their current program to an even higher level.
As President of Chamber Advocacy, a professional firm that builds government affairs programs, I am fortunate to be part of award-winning advocacy programs that serve as a model in our industry. That model is based upon a belief that chambers of commerce must build advocacy programs that empower their membership and increase their relevance in public policy discussions and decision-making.
To that end, I believe that an effective government affairs program is founded on four basic principles:
1. Tracking pertinent local and state legislation and issuing vote records on local elected officials as it relates to business.
2. Fostering grassroots involvement, from the board to the government affairs council, to develop and advocate the chamber's priorities.
3. Staff must serve as an advocacy resource for the chamber's membership always willing to represent the business point of view from city hall all the way to the halls of the statehouse.
4. Constant maintenance of communication strategies such as a Web site solely dedicated to advocacy efforts and the commitment of the entire front page of the chamber's newsletter to advocacy in every edition, all year long.
To learn more about the four principles of effective government affairs programs and get ideas and advice for how to energize your advocacy, look for my posts on the ACCE Policy Clearinghouse Blog. Also, feel free to log in and post questions about your government affairs program.
- Shaun Lumachi
For more information about Chamber Advocacy click HERE.
Maryland Repeals Tech Tax
In a big win for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and the Technology Council of Maryland, the Maryland General Assembly repealed the "Tech Tax" passed during a special legislative session last November.
Regular Clearinghouse Blog readers may remember that the Computer Service Sales Tax (Tech Tax) was a 6% sales tax on IT services such as custom programing, data processing, and system design. Had the tax stood, many highly mobile IT companies may have left Maryland for neighboring states to escape the tax and keep their services competitive with others in the market.
Land use decision appeals in Maryland
A state law in Maryland may force counties to amend their land use decision appeals process. At issue is who has "standing" to challenge a local zoning decision in municipal court.
Maryland HB 246 would force counties to offer "standing" to an aggrieved party and to any taxpayer. In most counties the appeals process for land use decisions mandates that an appeal can only come from an aggrieved party. An aggrieved party typically must be able to prove that the decision in question caused them particular harm above the general public impact.
By offering "standing" to any taxpayer, the state is undermining the defined land use decision making process which already includes opportunities for public input. Some business leaders in Maryland fear that new development projects may be held up in courts for months by individuals who oppose all new development.
Click HERE to read the Maryland Chamber's position on HB 246.
Thanks to Pamela Klahr, CCE at the Howard County (MD) Chamber for alerting us about this important piece of legislation.
Environmental Regulation Issue Jam - April, 22
Registration is open for the Environmental Regulation Issue Jam on April, 22. Registration is only $25 for ACCE members, so if you haven't signed up, click HERE to get on the call.
Issue Jams are a new format of ACCE DIALogue teleseminar. During an Issue Jam a guest presenter provides an overview of the latest state and local trends in a particular policy area. Following the brief presentation, we open lines for everyone to join the discussion and share their own experience.
Kathryn Klaber, Executive Vice President of Competitiveness at the Allegheny Partnership will lead the Environmental Regulation Issue Jam. Kathryn has an extensive background in helping companies work through issues like air quality compliance, Brownfields redevelopment, accidental release preparedness, and myriad of other environmental projects.
Issue Jams are a forum for shared learning, so come prepared to share your perspective and local experience. Click HERE to register today and take advantage of our special ACCE member rate of $25.
Alabama Getting In on the Immigration Crackdown
Today the Montgomery Advertiser reported:
"An Alabama House committee approved eight bills ThursÂday aimed at cracking down on illegal immigrants in Alabama, including one to revoke the license of any business that knowÂingly hires illegal immigrants.
Other bills approved by the House Judiciary Committee would make it a crime to transÂport illegal immigrants into the state and impound the vehicle if a driver can't prove he or she is a legal citizen.
The committee turned down two immigration bills, includÂing one that would have reÂquired all workers in the state to have an identification card."
Click HERE for the full article.
If the bills pass, Alabama will join the growing ranks of states, including Arizona and Oklahoma, to pass stringent immigration laws that impact businesses.
A quick scan of headlines from the past few days reveals how prominent the immigration issue continues to be in states all across the country. Arrests of undocumented immigrants by local and federal officials are making headlines in the:
Cleveland Plain Dealer (March 29, 2008)
Lincoln, Nebraska Journal-Star (March 29, 2008)
Dallas Morning News (March 30, 2008)
For more information about state and local immigration policy developments, visit PolicyClearinghouse.org.