Maryland Governor forms small business panel

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Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley is forming a commission to come up with ways to help the state’s small business owners.

“Small business is the foundation of Maryland’s economy,” O’Malley said.

The 26-member commission will include two state senators, two delegates and 17 appointed small business leaders from across the state. It will be tasked with breaking down existing barriers to business growth and formation and providing a way for small business owners to share their concerns.

The creation of the commission was part of a series of recommendations suggested by a small business task force in December. The commission’s first annual report is due next June.

The governor’s office says that small businesses employ more than half of all private-sector workers in the state, and that small businesses represent more than 97 percent of employers.

Earlier this week, O’Malley announced a new program – called InvestMaryland – using future tax breaks to help generate venture capital for small business formation and investment. He told business leaders that he expected the program to generate $100 million in venture capital funds.