Franchot hosts Chamber roundtable discussion

 

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper Attending the meeting were Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Commissioner Robert Hanson, Delmarva Community Services Director Santo Grande, former Main Street Director Joy Staniforth, Senator Addie Eckardt, Jennifer Layton of the Layton’s Chance Winery, Commissioner Steven Rideout, Associate Economic Development Director Brandon Hesson, Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers, Dorchester County Manager Jeremy Goldman, Delegate Johnny Mautz, Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker, Peter Bugas of Interstate Container, Dion Banks of Cambridge International, and Ed Johnson, owner of the Wine Bar in Cambridge.

Dorchester Banner/Paul Clipper
Attending the meeting were Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Commissioner Robert Hanson, Delmarva Community Services Director Santo Grande, former Main Street Director Joy Staniforth, Senator Addie Eckardt, Jennifer Layton of the Layton’s Chance Winery, Commissioner Steven Rideout, Associate Economic Development Director Brandon Hesson, Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers, Dorchester County Manager Jeremy Goldman, Delegate Johnny Mautz, Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker, Peter Bugas of Interstate Container, Dion Banks of Cambridge International, and Ed Johnson, owner of the Wine Bar in Cambridge.

CAMBRIDGE—Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot visited town on Friday, August 12, and hosted a roundtable discussion with members of the Dorchester County Chamber of Commerce for a business roundtable discussion and a conversation about Maryland’s economy and the state’s fiscal outlook.

Attending the meeting were Mayor Victoria Jackson-Stanley, Commissioner Robert Hanson, Delmarva Community Services Director Santo Grande, former Main Street Director Joy Staniforth, Senator Addie Eckardt, Jennifer Layton of the Layton’s Chance Winery, Commissioner Steven Rideout, Associate Economic Development Director Brandon Hesson, Dorchester County Council President Ricky Travers, Dorchester County Manager Jeremy Goldman, Delegate Johnny Mautz, Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker, Peter Bugas of Interstate Container, Dion Banks of Cambridge International, and Ed Johnson, current owner of the Wine Bar in Cambridge.

Peter Franchot welcomed everyone and began by noting that Maryland is continuing to enjoy a time with no major changes in the tax laws, which he referred to as a “time out” for the state, a time that businesses can conduct their businesses without major changes in the rules year after year. He stressed that stability in the tax structure is the best thing for Maryland business right now.

Mr. Franchot stated that his office had processed three million tax returns this past season, and thanked Len Foxwell for “running the operation.” He said that 90 percent of the returns were filed electronically, and that his office paid out two billion dollars in tax refunds, “and that’s cash that goes right into the economy.”

Mr. Franchot also talked about tax fraud in the state, and lamented the Taxpayer Protection Act, that failed in the Senate. The Taxpayer Protection Act would have given the Comptroller’s office the power to prosecute preparers of fraudulent tax returns. As it stands, his office plans to work to get the bill re-sponsored for this next legislative season.

Next, the Comptroller turned the discussion over to the attendees, and Santo Grande started out with an update on what is happening recently with Dorchester Community Services. DCS is busy preparing the site for their new Chesapeake Grove center, and panning for a groundbreaking soon.

Robert Hanson was introduced next, and spoke briefly on new, exciting things in Cambridge, including the new RFPs sent out for disposition of the Sailwinds/Governors Hall location, and announced that the proposed gateway property block on Sunburst Highway was undergoing demolition even as the Chamber of Commerce meeting was happening.
Mayor Stanley spoke about the recent bad comments made about Cambridge by the DNC staffer that made the news a week ago, and told that she had also invited the DNC to Cambridge to learn more about the city. Joy Staniforth asked about the potential for some form of sales tax relief for artists working and living in the Arts & Entertainment District.

Jennifer Layton talked about streamlining tax filing policies for wineries, making it easier and less costly for wineries to file their tax papers. Ricky Travers, who also owns a retail establishment in town, asked about recent changes in rail service for freight in the county, with concern that cessation of rail service forces all shipping companies to switch to trucking, with an attendant rise in cost to the end user.

Delegate Johnny Mautz thanked the Comptroller for coming down to the Eastern Shore once again, and talked about the importance of political figures staying in touch with local business and government. Tourism Director Amanda Fenstermaker talked about the upcoming Ironman event and the economic impact of the Ironman races. Ricky Travers added to the Ironman discussion that, “Out of all the Ironman events, all over the world, we were rated as the number one venue. Number one in the world.”

The business roundtable discussion continued casually, and lasted about an hour. Ideas were batted back and forth, between locals and business people, and the Senator, Delegate and Comptroller, and though this type of meeting is informal, one can’t help leaving thinking that something good will come of it.

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