ANNAPOLIS — Cecil County’s state delegation earned high marks for its pro-business voting record in the General Assembly’s 2017 legislative session, according to a new report.
Maryland Business for Responsive Government (MBRG), a pro-business advocacy group that lobbies at the state level, has released its Roll Call report for this year’s session, giving each of the delegation members an A.
“When it comes to serving businesses, we strive for perfection and settle for excellence,” said Delegate Kevin Hornberger (R-Cecil), the delegation’s chair. “We all ran on a pro-business ticket. The big reason that we won is that there was a war on businesses during the O’Malley administration. So many businesses left. The few that are still here, we need to do whatever we can to keep them.”
Notably, Hornberger tied for most improved, increasing his grade from 80 percent in 2016 to 92 percent in 2017. His cumulative score now stands at 90 percent.
District 36 delegates Steven Arentz (R-Queen Anne’s), Jay Jacobs (R-Kent) and Jeff Ghrist (R-Caroline) all earned 100 percent grades for their votes in 2017. Ghrist has a cumulative score of 100 percent, indicating a perfect pro-business record. Arentz has a cumulative grade of 95 percent, while Jacobs has a 97 percent.
Delegate Teresa Relly (R-Harford/Cecil) scored 100 percent, while Delegate Andrew Cassilly (R-Harford/Cecil) earned a 92 percent. Reilly’s cumulative score is a 97 percent, while Cassilly’s is an 87 percent, the lone B grade in the county’s delegation.
State Sens. Wayne Norman (R-Harford/Cecil) and Steve Hershey (R-Upper Shore) both scored 100 percent for their votes in 2017.
“I got 100 percent, baby,” Norman said. “I always represent small business. Small business is the economic engine that makes our country run.”
MBRG highlights a handful of bills and floor motions introduced in each house, and identifies the bills as pro-business or anti-business. Based on a delegate or senator’s votes, MBRG assigns them a grade.
Generally, MBRG opposes all new taxes, mandates or restrictions that hinder a positive business climate in the state.
The most prominent piece of legislation analyzed by MBRG was the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, which would have required businesses with at least 15 employees to offer paid sick leave. Both houses passed the bill, but it was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Two other votes focused on the energy industry. One bill, supported by Hogan but opposed by MBRG, passed a ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. Another vote was to overturn Hogan’s veto of a bill that accelerates Maryland’s use of renewable energy, which was opposed by MBRG. The governor’s veto of the renewable energy bill was overturned.
The More Jobs for Marylanders Act, introduced by Hogan to create a tax credit for manufacturers, was supported by MBRG. It passed each house unanimously.
MBRG is closely aligned with the Maryland Business Leadership Political Action Committee, a group that has donated $28,000 to various campaigns, primarily giving to Republicans at the state level. Hornberger received a $1,000 donation in 2014.