Legislative Priorities For Montgomery County 2017

The Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit member organization of more than 450 businesses, is committed to furthering a vibrant and diversified local economy in which its members can grow and prosper.

 

We believe a thriving business community brings:

  • More private sector jobs for our citizens;
  • Broader tax base to support public services;
  • Increased prosperity and opportunity for all.

Through its legislative advocacy efforts, the Chamber seeks to foster the growth of existing businesses, encourage new business development, improve competitiveness relative to our neighbors, maintain and enhance property values, and promote consumer and investor interest and confidence in the Greater Silver Spring area.

 

To that end, the Chamber advocates policies that assure:

  1. A welcoming business environment that encourages economic vitality;
  2. A vibrant, clean & safe Silver Spring;
  3. Balanced transportation policies that address infrastructure needs;
  4. Support for small business.

A WELCOMING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT THAT ENCOURAGES ECONOMIC VITALITY

  • Mandating that the Council and the Executive Branch conduct a full analysis of the economic impact on business of all proposed County legislation and regulations, and weigh this impact prior to taking action.
  • Legislation and policies that eliminate - rather than establish or expand - barriers to economic development, especially measures that increase the cost of business creation and operation.
  • Support for Montgomery Business Development Corporation's work to attract and retain businesses in the county.
  • Preserving employers' ability to manage their workforces and construct employment, wage, and benefit policies that are tailored to best suit the needs of their employees.
  • Workforce development initiatives that maintain and enhance the pipeline of highly trained, skilled workers in Montgomery County, including continued investment in Montgomery College's operating and capital budgets.
  • Localizing control and accountability for WSSC, and requiring an independent study of capital, operations, and overhead costs before any new fees or rate increases are approved.
  • Sunset of the Energy Tax increase, which is a deterrent to attracting new employers.
  • Responsible County budgets that address shortfalls by tackling the structural deficit, systemic pension reform, and general spending restraints, including salary adjustment policies that reflect the current economic realities of the private sector.
  • Rejecting any efforts to impose commercial or residential rent control, which would depress property values and decrease available funds for county initiatives.

A VIBRANT, CLEAN & SAFE DOWNTOWN SILVER SPRING AND ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT IN GREATER SILVER SPRING

  • Continued investment in Arts & Entertainment endeavors that contribute to the vibrancy of Silver Spring by stimulating economic activity, including support for the AFI Silver Theatre.
  • Policies and regulatory changes that will establish a safe and prosperous "nighttime economy" in Silver Spring (including privatizing liquor control in Montgomery County).
  • Prompt completion and opening of the Silver Spring Transit Center.
  • Protection of the fiscal integrity and original intent of the Silver Spring Parking Lot District (PLD) so that fees and taxes generated in Silver Spring are reinvested in Silver Spring to maintain public safety, especially the Silver Spring Urban District's "Clean & Safe" efforts, and improve and upgrade existing facilities and services.
  • Converting and re-branding the VanGo bus service into an effective circulator to increase usage and advance the "nighttime economy."
  • Assuring sufficient, convenient, and affordable parking in Silver Spring for businesses, their patrons, and their employees, including finding alternatives for funding that do not involve increased rates or enforcement hours.
  • Initiatives that bring economic redevelopment to eastern Montgomery County, south Silver Spring, and Long Branch.
  • Continued enhancement of police enforcement in East County (White Oak and the 29 Corridor).

BALANCED TRANSPORTATION POLICIES THAT ADDRESS INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS

  • Continued support of efforts to build the Purple Line.
  • Assuring that development of a future Bus Rapid Transit system in Silver Spring, specifically the Route 29 and Georgia Avenue Corridors, take into account the needs of businesses whose employees, customers, and vendors must travel these routes by individual vehicle.
  • A balanced approach to the County's Bike Share endeavor that encourages the use of this alternative form of transportation, while maintaining the existing on-street parking that is critical to Silver Spring businesses, and provides a long-term funding mechanism that does not rely on developer dollars or money diverted from other dedicated funds.

SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESS

  • Continuation and expansion of the Local Small Business Reserve Program.
  • Mandating disaggregation of County procurement contracts to give more opportunity to small businesses.
  • Initiatives that give preference to Montgomery County business for County procurement opportunities.