Promotions program stays despite loss of funding

June 28, 1992|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,Annapolis Bureau

ANNAPOLIS -- "Maryland You Are Beautiful," the governor's favorite feel-good-about-yourself program, won't go away despite the legislature's best efforts to abolish it.

The Maryland General Assembly cut $125,000 from the program's budget and left it without paid staff come Wednesday, when the 1993 fiscal year begins.

However, the Schaefer administration has found a way to save the program, which honors volunteers, sponsors writing competitions for senior citizens and promotes tourism.

Money from the state agriculture and economic development agencies destined for similar promotions will be used to pay two program staffers, said Frank Traynor, press secretary to Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

The program, which is run by volunteer Floraine Applefeld, resembles the "Baltimore's Best" promotion during Mr. Schaefer's days as mayor of Baltimore, Mr. Traynor said.

Many legislators have complained that "Maryland, You are Beautiful" is a frivolous use of tax dollars, especially during a recession.

"It's something that's obviously dear to the governor's heart, although not the legislature's," said state Sen. Julian L. Lapides, a Baltimore Democrat who often criticizes state spending. "It's good at tooting the governor's horn."

"I think there are worse things in the budget than that, so I'll be kind," he said.

Mrs. Applefeld has formed a private organization called People' Pride Inc. to raise money for the program in an attempt to wean it entirely from state funding, Mr. Traynor said.

He defended the continuation of the program: "At a time like this, when people are a little bit down about the economy, you need a program like this to recognize the volunteers who are stepping in to fill the tasks created by cuts in spending."

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