Category Archives: Chamber of Commerce

Chamber to Executive: Get the Money Out Now

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has issued the following statement on the county’s pace of distributing federal COVID assistance.

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Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Statement on Montgomery County Executive’s Failure to Distribute $45.6M in Federal Relief

Tuesday’s Council briefing on the Coronavirus Relief Fund was deeply concerning. It was revealed that the County Executive has yet to spend $45.6 million of Federal Relief that was intended for immediate distribution to help our residents and businesses. The need for this funding is both dire and urgent. These communities are struggling at unprecedented levels during this public health emergency.

The County Council has established several programs to administer this relief funding for rent assistance, local businesses, child care, and more. Over the past six months our Chamber has been a supportive partner to the County to help the Council and the Executive by hosting many briefings for county business owners to learn about these programs and how to apply for relief. But there is growing concern expressed by both residents and business owners that their applications have either not been approved or they have not received a response to know the status of their applications.

The County Executive’s failure to distribute in a timely manner the CARES Act funding the County has already received severely inhibits our Chamber’s continued advocacy at the Federal level for additional county and state funds. Further, there is growing concern that the consequence of not distributing these funds as intended by December 31 means that the funds must be returned to the Federal government.

The strategy of waiting for the federal government to take further actions to provide future relief funding does not take into account the urgency for those in dire need of this relief NOW. The County Executive needs to lead our County by implementing emergency relief programs desperately needed by our residents and businesses during this crisis.

Our citizens and businesses can no longer wait. And the clock is ticking with the threat of losing this funding. MCCC implores the County Executive to end this delay immediately and distribute the $45.6 million.

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County Chamber of Commerce Takes Positions on Ballot Questions

By Adam Pagnucco.

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has announced that it is supporting Question A (Council Member Andrew Friedson’s tax limit charter amendment), opposing Question B (Robin Ficker’s tax limit charter amendment) and opposing Question D (nine council districts). The chamber took no position on Question C, which would keep the at-large council members and create two new district seats. The chamber’s press release is reprinted below.

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MCCC Board of Directors Votes to Oppose Questions B and D, Supports Question A
View the Official Sample Ballot

At its September meeting, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) Board of Directors voted for its positions on the Montgomery County ballot questions for the 2020 General Election.

“There is so much at stake on the ballot in this year’s election,” said Gigi Godwin, President and CEO of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. “The County ballot questions could potentially have long-lasting impacts for Metro Maryland’s residents and businesses.”

The MCCC Board of Directors recommends the following:

Vote FOR Question A – The Chamber strongly supports this change to the County’s tax policy by establishing a cap on the property tax rate instead of the total revenue that the County can receive. Importantly, Question A keeps the requirement an affirmative vote by all Councilmembers, as is currently required to raise the revenue limit.

Vote AGAINST Question B – Question B risks the County’s ability to respond to emergencies and could compromise the Triple-A bond rating which would increase borrowing costs by substantially.

“Question A is a strong solution to Montgomery County’s broken property tax system that promotes more transparency and understanding,” said Lowell Yoder, MCCC Board Chair. “It sets a consistent tax rate each year and is straightforward, as tax policy should be. By simply keeping tax rates stable, the County would generate tens of millions of dollars in revenue over time, without even raising taxes to do so.”

Vote AGAINST Question D – The Chamber strongly opposes moving to a nine district County Council. Currently, Montgomery County residents are represented by a majority of the Council (five votes): one district member and four at-large members. Question D would eliminate this majority representation.

“Question D arose out of frustration by the lack of Upcounty representation,” stated Leslie Ford Weber, MCCC Immediate Past Chair and Legislative Committee Chair. “The Chamber fully appreciates and acknowledges the need for fair representation on the Council; however, this proposed change is not the way to go about it.”

Currently, the Chamber is not issuing a recommendation on Question C or the statewide ballot initiatives.

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