O'Malley signs package of bills meant to spur job growth

March 25, 2010|By Annie Linskey | Baltimore Sun reporter

Gov. Martin O'Malley on Thursday afternoon signed into law a package of bills aimed at spurring job growth in the state, including a $5,000 tax credit for businesses that hire off the unemployment rolls.

O'Malley had initially proposed a $3,000 credit, but state lawmakers bumped up that amount. Asked about the change, O'Malley said the approved credit "won't create as many jobs" but said "the ones it does create, it will create them a lot sooner."

President Barack Obama has proposed a similar $1,000 tax credit for businesses that hire out-of-work Americans.

"If the Congress acts," O'Malley said, "that is even more encouragement for businesses to hire."

The governor also put his signature on a hard-fought reform of the depleted unemployment insurance fund. The changes will make the state eligible for $127 million in federal stimulus money. O'Malley referenced the contentious debate on that bill, saying that, in the end, lawmakers "were able to pull together" leaders from business and labor groups who were at odds.

The final bill allows auto companies to pay bonuses to retail dealers.

"It makes it easier for people selling cars to get the compensation they've been promised by manufacturers," O'Malley said.

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