Maryland development plan is on tour 19 hearings set around the state

September 19, 1995|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,SUN STAFF

The Glendening administration is taking its draft economic-development plan on the road, as a series of public hearings around the state on a plan released last month by the state's economic development commission reaches metropolitan Baltimore this week.

The commission, a group of 21 business and labor leaders the governor appointed in February, was formed to propose ways to improve how Maryland markets itself to growing businesses, including ways to cut taxes and regulations that discourage expansion here.

Chuck Porcari, a spokesman for the state Department of Business and Economic Development, said there will be 19 hearings around the state. The commission expects to finish hearing comments and to make specific recommendations for public policy changes by late October or early November, he said. The first hearings were last week.

"The governor and the commission have made it clear that this will be a statewide plan with statewide input," Mr. Porcari said, explaining the reason for the statewide tour. "This is going to be the first economic development plan that encompasses the interests and strengths of the entire state of Maryland."

Today, the commission comes to Baltimore for a 2 p.m. hearing at the Maryland Communications Center, located on the 21st floor of the Legg Mason building at 111 S. Calvert St. Maryland Secretary for Business and Economic Development James T. Brady is expected to attend.

Tomorrow, the tour moves to Towson, with a 2 p.m. hearing at the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce at 102 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Suite 402. On Sept. 26 Harford countians can offer their comments at a 10 a.m. hearing at Harford County Community College. The next day, the hearings reach Annapolis, with a session for Anne Arundel residents at the county council chambers at 8 a.m. Howard County's hearing will be Sept. 28 at 3 p.m. at Howard County Community College's Business Technology Training Center.

Carroll County's hearing was held yesterday.

The draft plan drew cautious approval from the organized

business community and leading academics when it was announced. Some noted that so far the plan is short on details about specific taxes or regulations that would be scaled back or marketing programs that would be expanded.

"They are trying to lay out a framework that would reposition Maryland as a leader in business development," said Michael A. Conte, director of the regional economic studies program at the University of Baltimore. "It remains to be seen whether that is actually done. . . . It's really important for us to get to the nitty-gritty of it and to flesh out the statement of principles with an actual critical path to success."

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