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‘We are going to do what needs to be done,’ says Sheela Murthy, chairwoman of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce’s Executive Committee, referring the organization’s leadership transition. ‘Our legislative agenda is going to continue with laser-sharp focus.’ (File photo)

It’s business as usual for Md. Chamber of Commerce despite leadership change

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for next month’s the legislative session despite a sudden leadership change.

President Brien Poffenberger resigned last week, and former chamber president Kathleen Snyder, who retired last year, will become interim president starting Monday.

“Anyone who knows Kathy… understands that she has been pivotal to building the foundation for the Chamber’s strong position in the state of Maryland and nationally,” chamber executive committee chairwoman Sheela Murthy said in a statement.

While Snyder is leading the organization, organization officials will conduct a nationwide search for a new leader. The chamber’s executive committee will search for a new president through the upcoming legislative session. Snyder has agreed to stay on for six months, said Murthy.

“We are going to do what needs to be done,” said Murthy in a subsequent phone interview. “Our legislative agenda is going to continue with laser-sharp focus.”

Murthy is the founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm in Owings Mills.

The chamber in the fall came out with its agenda for the 2016 legislative session, focusing on growing private sector jobs and greater business investment. Concerning tax policy, the chamber wants the General Assembly to adopt single sales factor tax formula for all employers, tax relief for all pass-through entities and transparency in enforcement of tax laws.

The chamber cites education as a priority, particularly finding ways to connect educators and businesses. The chamber also wants to put “reasonable” limits on business liability by maintaining the current standard of contributory negligence, damages caps and punitive damages.

For small businesses, the chamber is wants to promote the SHOP Exchange program while allowing private health insurance markets to compete in the exchange, according to the agenda.

The chamber is also supporting “a balanced use” of transportation funding and alternative funding sources for major transportation projects. On energy and environmental issues, the chamber is supporting policies that maintain a balance between economic needs and environmental concerns, the agenda said.

“Let me reassure you that, as the leading voice for economic growth in Maryland, the Chamber will continue to work hard for businesses across the state,” Murthy said in a statement.