Expansion funds win approval State's $7 million 'Sunny Day' package helps 4 Md. firms

Economic development

March 28, 1996|By Marina Sarris | Marina Sarris,SUN STAFF

With few objections, top state legislators easily approved more than $7 million in government loans and grants yesterday to help finance the expansion of four Maryland companies.

The projects include a $4 million state loan to help MedImmune Inc. of Gaithersburg build a $43.8 million biotechnology manufacturing plant in Frederick, creating 219 jobs by 1999. Tessco Technologies Inc., a wholesaler of wireless phone equipment, will receive a $1 million state grant toward a $9.5 million expansion that would create 123 jobs in Hunt Valley.

Sweetheart Cup Co. will receive a $1.08 million loan to help it move its headquarters from Chicago to its Owings Mills plant, adding 50 to 60 executive jobs. Hunt Valley-based Fila USA, a shoe and clothing company, will get a $1.25 million grant to help it open a 300,000-square foot warehouse near Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

By a voice vote, the Legislative Policy Committee gave final approval to the loans and grants from the state's "Sunny Day" fund, which provides financial incentives to attract new businesses to Maryland and keep existing companies from leaving. Some grants may be converted to loans and vice versa, depending on the firms' success in meeting job creation goals.

The 28-member committee is composed of leaders from both houses and political parties.

Most of the projects will receive additional assistance from other state and local economic development funds, and all include significant private financing.

A few committee members objected to the Sunny Day aid for policy reasons.

"We should make the state of Maryland attractive to business through tax policy," said Sen. Walter M. Baker, a Cecil County Democrat. "I don't think we should be bribing companies to come to Maryland or stay here."

He said he supported a failed attempt to lower state income taxes this year.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. defended the projects.

"We're building our jobs base," the Cumberland Democrat said.

The complaints were "purely political rhetoric" by people who applaud Virginia and the Carolinas -- which have larger economic development funds than Maryland -- for their good business climates, he said.

Pub Date: 3/28/96

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