The Friday Five brings you the top five news stories from the intersection of business and government. Here are this week’s stories:
|1. At bill signing, top leaders celebrate capital budget, new health care and public safety laws|
On Monday, Governor Hogan, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson signed 140 bills into law, including Maryland’s 2022 capital budget. The $4 billion budget will provide for the expansion of affordable housing projects, funding for the Chesapeake Bay restoration, and about $1 billion for public school construction.
“Every single part of the state will be touched by this capital budget, and we should be very, very proud of the work that we’re going to do together to tell Marylanders that we get the job done,” Ferguson said.
During the bill signing ceremony, legislation was also passed to continue to allow emergency medical technicians to administer vaccines and to cap copays for 30-day supplies of insulin for people covered by health insurance, which is a huge win for health care advocates. Another bill signing has tentatively been scheduled for May 26, just 4 days before Hogan’s deadline to act on the rest of the legislation passed this session.
To view the list of other notable bills signed and to read the full story, click here.
|2. Maryland has $198M in new federal small business reliefYesterday, Governor Hogan announced a plan to spend up to $198 million in federal funding to support Maryland’s small businesses. The funding will be disbursed through the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, the Maryland Department of Commerce and the Maryland Technology Development Corporation, adding money to existing programs designed to help businesses with limited opportunities for growth. Maryland will begin deploying the funding this summer, and business owners and lending institutions interested in applying can fill out an Expression of Interest Form to get notified once applications are open.|
To view how funds will be allocated and how to apply, click here.
|3. Maker of electric, industrial vehicles picks White Marsh for next phase of U.S. expansion|
Greenland Technologies Holding Corp., a manufacturer of drivetrain systems for forklift trucks and other material-handling vehicles, said Monday that it plans to open an assembly plant in White Marsh in July for the next phase of its U.S. expansion. The 54,000 square-foot plant will allow the company to meet increased customer demand for its expanding line of vehicles and is expected to initially employ 36 full-time workers. They also said they intend to use the state’s “More Jobs for Marylanders” program which offers more incentives to new and existing manufacturers to create new jobs in the state.
“Greenland’s innovative technologies will allow the company to easily make its mark in the MidAtlantic and continue growing its presence throughout the nation,” Governor Larry Hogan said Monday in announcing the company’s plans.
Read the full story here.
|4. Combatting inflation: What’s behind high energy prices and what to do about it|
In March, consumer price increases topped 8.5%, causing the highest inflationary rise in 40 years, impacting virtually every sector of the economy. Managing Director of Communications and Media at the U.S. Chamber Global Energy Institute Matt Letourneau said that although the invasion of Ukraine and supply chain challenges have exacerbated price pressures, energy prices were already escalating well before the conflict began. Last year, gasoline prices had increased by about 40% (over one dollar per gallon), more than doubling low pandemic prices and increasing the average price per gallon to $4.21 per gallon nationwide. Letourneau identifies six causes of high energy prices and what the U.S., as the world’s largest oil and natural gas producer, can do to counteract them.
Read the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s article here.
|5. 4 ways to protect your small business from cyberattacks|
The COVID-19 pandemic increased risk for small businesses who quickly adopted remote working and transitioned to new technologies, such as contactless payments and online ordering. According to a 2022 report from Barracuda, a cloud and networks security company, small businesses with fewer than 100 employees receive 350% more social engineering attacks, such as phishing, scamming or email compromise, than larger businesses. Smaller businesses often have fewer resources to dedicate to cybersecurity, leaving them vulnerable to the ever-evolving tactics of cybercriminals that could have devastating consequences on the business’s bottom line. Here are 4 steps you can take to help protect your business from cyberattacks.