Maryland has launched a $25 million initiative aimed at providing financial incentives for small businesses and developers to put vacant retail and commercial space to use.
Gov. Larry Hogan announced the program, dubbed Project Restore, in Berlin, Maryland on Monday as part of a five-day tour of the Eastern Shore. The program will offer rental grants and sales tax relief rebates for businesses that begin new or expanded operations in spaces that have not been generating sales tax receipts for the past six months or more. Small businesses with 50 employees or less will also be eligible for additional benefits.
“Project Restore will help put more ‘open for business’ signs in storefront windows, create thousands of jobs, and transform neighborhoods and communities,” Hogan said in a statement. “This initiative is just one more shining example of how we aren’t just committed to fully recovering from this pandemic, we are committed to coming back stronger and better than ever before.”
Under the program, businesses will be eligible for sales tax relief rebates equal to the business’ sales tax receipts for the 12-month period, up to $250,000 a year. Businesses located in a tier 1 county — as defined by the More Jobs for Marylanders program — will get the rebate for two years while all other businesses will get the rebate for one year. Tier 1 counties include Baltimore City, Baltimore County and all opportunity zones in the state.