As legislators prepare for what many are expecting to be a busy 2016 session, members of Carroll County's delegation in Annapolis met with area small-business owners Thursday to discuss priorities and predictions for the state's legislative body.
In the second year of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's term, business owners can expect to see a continued commitment to rolling back regulations and taxes that stifle businesses, legislators said, but they may also see efforts in the General Assembly to push things like mandatory paid sick leave.
Although the state made gains in becoming more business-friendly in 2015, Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, said there is more work to be done.
"We have a long way to go to make Maryland more competitive, from a taxpayer standpoint," he told chamber members at the breakfast, which was held Thursday morning at the Zigler Hospitality Center in New Windsor.
The first test of the session, said Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, will be the budget, which the governor must submit to the General Assembly for review by Jan. 20.
Chamber members asked the delegation about what local residents can expect as the state assesses its school funding formula.
"The biggest problem we have in our county is declining enrollment," Krebs said.
However, she said, residents should be prepared if the assessment does not work in Carroll County's favor. Many schools systems struggle with funding, she said, and restructuring the formula may not translate to increased funds across the board.
Another chamber member asked about a possible bill that would require employers at companies with more than 10 employees to offer paid sick leave.
While Krebs said she was confident Hogan would veto the bill, Del. Trent Kittleman, R-District 9, said she has heard from companies that many small businesses will attempt to avoid having to provide the sick leave by restricting the number of people they employ.