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Senate GOP introduces ‘jobs package’ bills

ANNAPOLIS — The Republican leader of the Senate and his caucus introduced 10 bills intended to improve the business climate in Maryland when members convened for a gambling-focused special session of the General Assembly on Thursday.

Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Harford and Cecil, and Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore (The Daily Record/Alexander Pyles)

Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore, said the package would freeze all state taxes, create tax incentives for businesses, loosen some regulations and lower the corporate income tax to 7.25 percent and 4 percent on a corporation’s first $1.5 million.

Another bill would prohibit private collective bargaining agreements, which require employees to join or pay dues to a labor union in order to be employed.

The package of bills was assigned to the Rules Committee, essentially a legislative dumping ground. None of the bills is expected to receive a public hearing during the special session.

Pipkin called the set of bills a “jobs package.”

“We believe that gaming alone does not solve the job crisis,” Pipkin said. “What we’re talking about this morning is what we should really be talking about in a special session.”

Sen. Edward R. Reilly, R-Anne Arundel, said the package would create stability for Maryland businesses.

“Stability is a necessary ingredient in the Maryland economy,” he said.

Pipkin criticized Gov. Martin O’Malley’s assertion that expanding gambling means creating jobs. He said the Republican caucus’ package was an effort to offer “concrete, real ideas to create jobs.”