Maryland's top economic-development officer made an unusual public appeal yesterday against cutting a variety of business financing programs that were presented to legislators this week as possible ways to trim the state's projected $423 million budget deficit and avoid laying off state workers.
In a "Statement to the Media," J. Randall Evans, secretary of economic and employment development, lambasted legislators for considering cuts in a laundry list of programs presented to them Tuesday night.
The statement was an apparent attempt to head off lawmakers looking for ways to save money before Jan. 1, when Gov. William Donald Schaefer has said he will start to lay off up to 1,800 state workers.
In the statement, Mr. Evans detailed some of the $21.5 million in state financing assistance programs that William S. Ratchford II, director of the legislature's Department of Fiscal Services, presented to the General Assembly for possible cuts. They include:
* $6 million from the Maryland Industrial and Commercial Redevelopment Fund, which provides loans and grants to local governments to stimulate redevelopment projects.
* $3 million used to entice businesses to Maryland.
* $4 million from the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority, which offers financing to small or minority businesses.
* $11 million from the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority, another program intended to lure businesses to Maryland or help local businesses expand.
"A one-time decrease in the state's capacity to finance business growth will hurt the state for years to come," Mr. Evans said.