ANNAPOLIS, MD (March 25, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley joined Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr., and House Speaker Michael E. Busch to sign emergency legislation today strengthening Maryland’s economy and creating jobs <http://www.governor.maryland.gov/documents/032510bills.pdf> throughout the state. The Governor signed an initiative he introduced designed to provide incentives to Maryland businesses to hire unemployed workers, thus strengthening our economy and relieving pressure on the State’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The Governor also signed legislation to modernize the unemployment insurance trust fund, and maintain its solvency by leveraging federal funds.
“There is no government program that is as important or as empowering as a job,” said Governor O’Malley. “Progress requires that we focus the energies of this legislative session on creating jobs, saving jobs, and protecting jobs. To rebuild and restore our economy, we must help our businesses create and save jobs, and improve the conditions under which business can create or save jobs.”
Receiving the Governor’s signature today are three bills designed to create jobs and grow Maryland’s economy:
* The Jobs Creation Recovery Tax Credit, which offers any Maryland business a $5,000 tax credit for every unemployed Marylander that it hires.
* Unemployment Insurance – Tax Deferment, Trust Fund Solvency, and Cost-Neutral Modernization Act, which will assist employers in paying their taxes and return the trust fund to solvency more quickly by securing $126.8 million in federal funds without imposing any costs on employers.
* Manufacturers, Distributors, and Factory Branches - Benefits to Employees of Dealers, which allows vehicle manufacturers to pay bonuses directly to dealership employees.
“Governor O’Malley and I share a belief that we must do more than simply survive this economic downturn, we must put ourselves in a position to thrive for years to come. We are committed to building an environment in our state that is conducive to creating jobs in every community,” Lt. Governor Brown said. “These bills will create jobs, put our neighbors to work and support the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy. I applaud the General Assembly for working with us to pass important legislation and thank Governor O’Malley for his forward-thinking leadership that has protected our priorities and preserved the progress we’ve made even during difficult economic times.”
“From the beginning of the session, the Senate’s top priorities have been to manage the state’s finances responsibly and to create and protect jobs. Yesterday we passed a balanced budget that protects critical state investments, and today we sign bills that will put Marylanders back to work,” said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. “We got these bills to the Governor’s desk quickly because we are committed to working with the business community to create jobs and expedite our State’s economic recovery.”
“This legislative session has been focused on creating jobs and stimulating the economy,” said Speaker Michael E. Busch. “The job tax credit will provide businesses with a competitive advantage and confidence to reinvest in the economy, while providing job opportunities for out-of-work Marylanders. I commend Governor O’Malley, the Maryland House and Senate for passing these important jobs bills with bipartisan support.”
The Jobs Creation and Recovery Tax Credit offers any Maryland business a $5,000 tax credit for every unemployed Marylander that it hires. Capped at $20 million, this initiative could create 4,000 jobs throughout Maryland. The Jobs Creation and Recovery Tax Credit is part of a larger jobs agenda, which also includes an expansion of small business loan guarantees, the creation of a Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program, and reforming the unemployment insurance trust fund.
The Governor also signed into law reform for the State’s unemployment insurance trust fund. The national recession has resulted in an unprecedented demand on the unemployment insurance trust fund. It has triggered a statutory increase in employers’ rates while businesses are still struggling with the economic downturn. The O’Malley-Brown Administration worked closely with small business leaders to craft a reform plan that will help both employers and workers alike as the State works to climb out of the recession. It will assist employers in paying their taxes and return the trust fund to solvency more quickly by securing $126.8 million without imposing any costs on employers.
Through the influx of federal funds, which will neither come from employers’ pockets nor cost them anything in the short or long term, unemployment insurance rates will return to lower levels sooner, and workers will benefit as employers feel less pressure to lay off more employees. Finally, by putting in place certain modernization measures required to access the $126.8 million, the bill will also make more workers eligible for benefits, the cost of which will be offset by other modifications to the system.
Finally, the Governor signed into law legislation that repeals a provision enacted during the 2009 Session that prohibits a vehicle manufacturer from providing bonuses directly to a car dealer’s employee. Under Senate Bill 18, a manufacturer may give the payment to the dealer for distribution to the employee, or to the employee directly, if information about the payment is made available to the dealer.