Harford's Legislative Wish List

January 31, 1995

This year's Harford County legislative wish list, which can be expected to grow as the General Assembly session develops, includes requests for aid for museums and gardens, for sheriff deputies and abused women, for pretzel makers and volunteer firefighters and college students.

School construction funds are, as ever, the top concern, even though the legislature does not technically decide which schools get money; Harford is seeking $7.2 million. But the state budget decides how much is available, and how far down the list the state agency will go in making grants.

Two bills would amend conditions for use of state grants to Harford projects: to ease matching-fund requirements on TC state grant for a new maritime museum and decoy museum renovations in Havre de Grace, and to allow the Spouse Abuse Resource Center to use its grant to buy property as well as build a new facility. A new bond issue seeks $400,000 for Ladew Topiary Gardens to rehabilitate that Monkton showplace.

Repeal of the state sales tax on snack food, which hits directly at pretzels and other products of the Frito-Lay plant in Aberdeen, was strongly supported by ex-Gov. William Donald Schaefer (who had created the tax in the first place) and was endorsed last week by Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

To help existing business expand in Harford, the county executive is seeking power to grant tax credits for desirable renovations and additions. Several other counties already have this local property tax concession authority. Aberdeen's annual bid to impose a 5 percent hotel room tax does not have county government's blessing.

A bill to give Harford sheriff deputies civil-service job protection, a measure vetoed last year by Mr. Schaefer, should receive more favorable reception this year, as the sheriff and county executive fully support the action this time. Modification of worker compensation coverage premiums for non-emergency-task workers in volunteer fire companies is also on the county's list.

Harford Community College wants legislation for standardized transfer of student credits throughout the state higher education system, instead of letting individual institutions decide.

Harford delegation members say they will again back a bill to allow fraternal and service groups to have slot machine gambling, as long as proceeds are marked for public use. The bill is regularly defeated by strong sentiment against extending private club gambling in Maryland.

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