ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WDVM) — Nine in 10 Marylanders work for a small business. State legislation leaders spent a full day Wednesday in the Maryland General Assembly hoping those businesses are driving the economy.

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said a concern of his is an educated workforce, as he met with leaders of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.

It is a concern shared by Christine Ross, president of the Maryland Chamber, who said businesses in the state converge with schools by inviting students into apprenticeship programs.

Still, there are challenges. Three of four neighboring states have lower taxes. But Maryland does have the advantage of being on the border of the Nation’s Capital where federal contracts are abundant.

And Maryland also has its Industrial Partnership Program which targets workforce training at institutions of higher education like Frostburg State College.

State Comptroller Peter Franchot sees government based in Annapolis being reasonable about regulations and revenue collection, his specific responsibility on the Board of Public Works. As the new year gets off to a start, he is projecting tax collections from small business alone to come in at about $1 billion.