Baltimore still can attract businessNobody likes to lose...


January 31, 1996

Baltimore still can attract business

Nobody likes to lose. In the business of locating corporate facilities, there are many contenders, but in the end only one is chosen.

The USF&G national claims center to be located in Tampa, Florida is, no doubt, of great benefit to Tampa. It is also of great benefit to greater Baltimore. USF&G has a long history in Baltimore. USF&G was founded here and continues to be headquartered and will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year. Anything that USF&G does to strengthen its competitive position is of benefit to the company and to our region. USF&G is a valuable corporate and community asset for greater Baltimore -- providing jobs, a history of community involvement and significant economic investment.

There are many variables analyzed in the process of site selection. For a facility of this type, the typical primary considerations are: access to customers, quality and availability of and overall cost of doing businesss.

Based on the requirements of the USF&G project as originally presented, there were opportunities within Maryland and those opportunities were made known to USF&G. The competition was keen, but market dynamics presented a stronger case for locating in the South. Would a comparable package of training and infrastructure assistance have been available to USF&G in Maryland? Most probably. But would that have been enough to offset other market considerations? Probably not. Incentives and public assistance are typically of short-term value. The company's objectives are best served by investing in a market whose infrastructure supports and nurtures the long-term goals of the company.

It is important for any community to present a coordinated and united front in the attraction and welcoming of new business. Greater Baltimore has many assets -- the Port of Baltimore, BWI airport, proximity to Washington and other major markets, a superb highway system and world-renowned medical and educational facilities. The most recent location or expansion of facilities here by the International Youth Foundation, Fila, Goldwell Cosmetics, Fritz Cos., ACSI and T. Rowe Price is witness to the region's attractiveness for business development.

Ann M. Coscia


The writer is executive director of the Greater Baltimore Alliance, a regional economic development and marketing organization promoting metropolitan Baltimore.

Balanced budget at root of social debate

Carl M. Cannon's Jan. 16 article, ''Balanced budget's impact: lower interest rates,'' essentially ridicules the necessity of a balanced budget.

He argues that the nation has not had a balanced budget for 30 years, and that the only benefit would be one of lower interest rates. Mr. Cannon concludes by quoting President Clinton, who states that a balanced budget will harm most poor Americans and that the nation has become accustomed to its current levels of spending.

Keynesian economists could not have anticipated the myriad social problems that this country has experienced since World War II, nor the federal government's spending to achieve equality of results as opposed to equal treatment under the law.

The use of government coffers for comprehensive and intrusive social engineering is quite different from economic pump-priming to support an ailing economy or deficit spending in times of crises such as a war or deep recession.

The arguments being waged over a balanced budget are about ideological, social and political issues.

Both parties know that the power to spend is the power to influence and that the average politician has an insatiable desire to spend on behalf of his or her constituents. Life is about choice and compromise, something that most families understand whereas Congress and the president do not.

Unfortunately, Mr. Cannon focused upon the math but ignored the seductive role of government in satisfying our needs, regardless of their legitimacy, or in altering behavior, regardless of its desirability.

Lowell E. Abramson


Media ignore diversity of Virginia institutions

I have been disappointed in the media's coverage of the Supreme Court case involving the educational system of the state of Virginia.

The emphasis of the coverage has been faithful to what the Justice Department would like this case to be -- a black-and-white issue of one state-funded school's admission policy. Instead, this case concerns the diverse educational opportunities offered by the state of Virginia.

The state-supported educational system provides co-educational and single-sex college programs for both genders.

The case at hand questions the state's prerogative to offer such a variety of educational opportunities to its constituents.

It has been proven that for some individuals a single-sex educational system has allowed them to flourish, whereas they may not have done so within a co-educational arrangement. By providing single-sex educational programs, the state offers an economic alternative for the individuals who seek these benefits.

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