REGISTER NOW FOR THE STARS OF THE INDUSTRY LUNCHEON AND TRADE EXPO MH&LA's 2013 Stars of the Industry Awards Luncheon is Wednesday February 27 at the Loews Annapolis Hotel immediately following the annual Allied Member Expo. For more information or to register contact Martha Strickland at 410.974.4472 or firstname.lastname@example.org. HELP US HONOR OUR STARS OF THE INDUSTRY AWARD WINNERS A key element in the success of the Stars of the Industry Awards are door prizes for award winners and luncheon attendees. Please consider donating a door prize e.g. a weekend overnight package with dinner/breakfast. To donate contact Martha Strickland at 410.974.4472 or email@example.com. TAX INCREASES FOR TRANSPORTATION FUNDING ARE ON THE TABLE Discussions continue between the Governor, and Legislative Leaders on tax increase options for transportation funding. Options being explored include a 1% increase in the state sales tax, a new 3% sales tax on gas at the wholesale level, and regional transit district taxes to fund mass transit lines. SCHOOL CALENDAR STUDY BILL INTRODUCE Legislation providing for a for a study of post Labor Day school starts has been introduced in the General Assembly. This bill is a an essential first step in generating dialogue and discussion on this issue and is critical to any future success in securing General Assembly approval of school calendar changes. MEMBERSHIP UP IN 2012 Lodging membership by room count was up 1% and Allied membership was up nearly 9% last year. Thank you to every member who decided during very challenging economic times that MH&LA membership is not a cost of doing business - it is an investment to ensure the future of your business. CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING ON H-2B PROGRAM AH&LA, a co-chair of the H-2B Workforce Coalition, recently hosted a Congressional Briefing on the importance of the H-2B seasonal worker program. Appearing before a standing-room only audience, panelists detailed the importance of the program to the economy, as well as to individual businesses. MARYLAND'S AAA BOND RATINGS MAY BE IN JEOPARDY The Maryland State Treasurer recently noted that a federal sequester and the resulting cuts to the state budget could result in a downgrade of Maryland’s AAA credit rating. Any potential downgrade is unlikely to occur before the state auctions off $500 million worth of bonds on March 6. BWI MARSHALL AIRPORT SETS PASSENGER RECORD For the third consecutive year, BWI Marshall Airport has set a record for commercial passenger traffic, with 22.68 million travelers in 2012. The increase over 2011 was led by Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, which account for 71.2 % of the passenger market share at BWI. TOURISM AND Travel INDUSTRY ADDED JOBS LAST MONTH A U.S. Travel Association analysis of U.S. Labor Department figures shows that the tourism and travel industry added 2,300 jobs in January 2013 after jobs in this sector declined slightly in December, 2012. The new jobs were primarily in the amusements, gambling and recreation sectors.