Members of the Carroll County delegation to the General Assembly met with business and community leaders.
Members of the Carroll County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly met with business and community leaders Thursday morning to discuss potential impacts of the upcoming 2017 legislative session on the business community.
Three members of Carroll's 11-member delegation — Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, Sen. Justin Ready, R-District 5, and Del. Trent Kittleman, R-District 9A — were in attendance for the annual Legislative Kick-Off Breakfast, sponsored by the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and held at the Zigler Hospitality Center in New Windsor. Each expressed optimism that Republican down-ballot wins across the country, along with the election of Donald Trump and the leadership of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, could lead to more conservative legislation in majority-Democrat Maryland.
"It was a down-ballot sweep," Krebs told those gathered. "We have more Republicans in office in the states than since 1928."
Krebs said the fact that Republicans now control 68 percent of state legislative chambers across the country is an indication of the dominance of the conservative view, especially in states that have elected Republican secretaries of state.
"They control election law. They can ask for ID," she said. "They can make fair elections."
Kittleman said she was very hopeful about what a President Trump will mean for the business community.
"When he said, 'For every regulation that is passed, two must be repealed,' I jumped for joy," Kittleman said. "One of the things I would like to do is to take small groups of legislators into a small business to see how the regulations impact what you do."
In terms of actions at the state level, the delegation told the crowd they were hopeful that Hogan would be able to take the state in a more business-friendly, fiscally conservative direction.
Krebs, for instance, told the crowd she was hopeful there would be a chance to address regulation reform at the state level, and she asked business leaders to let her know of regulations that should be repealed.
"If you have ideas in your industry, we need to know what they are," she said. "Share those so they can be looked at."
Krebs said she would also like to see the General Assembly change the proportion of the annual budget allocated by formula, freeing more money to be spent on what she said the state should be spending it on: education and public safety.
"Our budget is 80 percent formula-driven," she said. "It takes away the flexibility of the governor to react to things where we need money."
Ready told the crowd he was excited by Hogan's "radical new idea."
"Let's invest transportation dollars in transportation avenues that people actually use," he said, with a laugh.
Rather than investing money into mass transit projects that Ready said a small percentage of Marylanders use, he would rather see Hogan allocate money toward expanding road capacity and road maintenance.
"Md. 32 is a tremendously important route for our county … we need the widening of Md. 32," Ready said. "We want to make Maryland and our county a top destination for businesses."
It will likely be the last time the Chamber holds the breakfast at the Zigler Hospitality Center, Chamber President Mike McMullin told the crowd in closing, precisely because Carroll has become a destination for a new business. The center is part of the larger Brethren Service Center that the Illinois-based Church of the Brethren is in the process of selling to Shanghai Yulun Education Group, which intends to reopen the campus as a high-end boarding school in the fall.
McMullin presented the Zigler staff with a certificate of appreciation.