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GBC launching group to study, recommend tax reform

The Greater Baltimore Committee said Wednesday that it will organize a private-sector commission to study Maryland's tax structure after dozens of local CEOs named tax reform the top priority for making the state more business friendly.

The GBC, a business and civic leadership organization, said it surveyed more than 250 chief executives and conducted workshops across the region to hear business leaders' thoughts on how to increase Maryland's economic competitiveness.

"Tax structure was the No. 1 — that's the one they consistently hear about, talk about, hear from others outside this state," said Donald C. Fry, the GBC's president. "And it is an issue that although talked about has never been thoroughly examined."

He said the goal is to improve the system in a revenue-neutral way, which means some tax rates could drop while others rise. Businesses are particularly interested in reducing the state's personal income tax rates as applied to limited liability companies and other entities taxed at their owners' own rates, the GBC said.

Fry expects that the commission will be formed in October and issue a report in or around next May, in time to pitch it to candidates in the 2014 legislative and gubernatorial elections.

Other priorities listed by business leaders include investing in infrastructure — particularly roads, transit, the port and the airport — and streamlining the state's regulations.

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