Making Montgomery Co. a destination for businesses — and a pledge to cut red tape

Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass says he’s determined to push harder to attract and retain businesses — and on Monday, he announced a “road map” to boost the Maryland county’s economic development.

During a news briefing, Glass explained he had moved to split one of the county council committees, making the Economic Development a free-standing panel.

Glass said his next steps would include seeking a review of compliance issues to ease regulatory burdens, especially on small and minority businesses. Glass said he wanted to protect “Mom and Pop shops that don’t have time to hire a lawyer or hire a lobbyist to get things changed.”

He said businesses should focus on their own operations, and not have to navigate compliance issues.

Glass said some of his plans stemmed from discussions with business owners. He said he recently visited a local brewery whose owners discussed some of the difficulties in complying with state, county and municipal regulations.

“What they’re just trying to do is run their taproom, make beer that tastes good for the community, and comply with all of their laws,” but, Glass added, “they just want to make it a little easier, and I agree … it should be a little easier.”

Glass pointed to the “trader’s fees” paid by retailers, a fee structure that had been in place for more than a century as an example of the kind of regulation he wanted to examine. Changes in Maryland law made it possible for counties to slash the fees from a high of $800, to $15 per year. In 2020, the county adopted a uniform $15 fee.

Glass said he also wants to see a study of pay equity since the council enacted the Montgomery County Pay Equity Act in 2019.

He also wants to create a venue for businesses to document problems they run into when obtaining permits or applying for incentives.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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