Article - Economic Development
(a) (1) The Secretary may only designate an area as an enterprise zone if the area:
(i) is in a priority funding area or in a qualified opportunity zone under § 1400Z–1 of the Internal Revenue Code in Allegany County, Garrett County, Somerset County, or Wicomico County or meets an exception under Title 5, Subtitle 7B of the State Finance and Procurement Article; and
(ii) satisfies at least one of the requirements specified in paragraph (2) of this subsection.
(2) An area may be designated as an enterprise zone if:
(i) the average rate of unemployment in the area, or within a reasonable proximity to the area but in the same county, for the most recent 18–month period for which data are available is at least 150% of the greater of the average rate of unemployment in either the State or the United States during that period;
(ii) the population in the area, or within a reasonable proximity to the area but in the same county, qualifies the area as a low–income poverty area;
(iii) at least 70% of the families in the area, or within a reasonable proximity to the area but in the same county, have incomes that are less than 80% of the median family income in the political subdivision that contains the area; or
(iv) the population in the area, or within a reasonable proximity to the area but in the same county, decreased by 10% between the most recent two censuses, and the political subdivision can demonstrate to the Secretary’s satisfaction that:
1. chronic abandonment or demolition of property is occurring in the area; or
2. substantial property tax arrearages exist in the area.
(3) (i) In determining if an area meets the requirements of this subsection, the Secretary may consider the most recent census data provided by the United States Bureau of the Census or any other reliable data that is acceptable to the Secretary.
(ii) Before considering data other than the most recent census in making a determination under paragraph (2)(ii) of this subsection, the Secretary shall adopt regulations specifying alternative data that are satisfactory to the Secretary.
(4) The Secretary:
(i) shall adopt regulations governing the evaluation and prioritization of applications for the designation of new enterprise zones under this section and the expansion of existing enterprise zones under § 5–705 of this subtitle; and
(ii) may adopt regulations necessary and appropriate to carry out this subtitle.
(5) Before designating an enterprise zone, the Secretary shall consult with the appropriate advisors.
(b) (1) Within 60 days after a submission date, the Secretary may designate one or more enterprise zones from among the areas described in the applications timely submitted.
(2) The designation of an area as an enterprise zone is effective for 10 years.
(3) The Secretary may not designate more than six enterprise zones in a calendar year.
(4) A county may not receive more than two enterprise zones in a calendar year.
(c) The designation of the Secretary is final.
(d) At any time, a political subdivision may reapply to the Secretary to designate as an enterprise zone an area that is not designated.