State seeks loan funds for 1,000 jobs It asks Assembly for $6.2 million to aid 7 companies

'Sunny Day' fund incentives

Baltimore, Howard, counties to benefit most under proposals FTC

December 06, 1996|By Jay Hancock | Jay Hancock,SUN STAFF

State economic development officials have asked legislators to approve $6.2 million in new business-incentive spending from Maryland's "Sunny Day" fund for projects that would bring more than 1,000 new jobs to the state, most of them in Baltimore and Howard counties.

The Department of Business and Economic Development formally requested the money this week, and the General Assembly's Legislative Policy Committee will vote on the deals this month, said Michael Volk, an official with the Department of Legislative Reference.

About $10 million is left of the $27 million originally put into this year's "Sunny Day" pot, which furnishes large loans and grants to help the state lure or retain major employers, said Bill Ratchford, the state legislature's fiscal analyst.

In the past two years, Maryland has quintupled "Sunny Day" spending in an effort to match the escalation of business incentives offered by rival states.

Typically, "Sunny Day" packages are loans that turn into outright grants if promised job-growth targets are met. In the current batch of deals, the fund would provide:

$1.27 million to RWD Technologies, a Howard County technology consulting company, to build a new facility that would employ 578 workers. Officials at RWD, the kind of high-tech, "knowledge-based" employer that the administration of Gov. Parris N. Glendening is trying to nurture, were unavailable for comment.

$800,000 to construct an office building for Metris Companies Inc., a financial services company and major MasterCard issuer based in St. Louis Park, Minn. The Metris facility, to be housed in White Marsh in Baltimore County, would employ 402 people, mostly customer service representatives, according to state documents.

A Metris spokesman did not return a phone call. But Robert Hannon, Baltimore County economic development director, cautioned that the Metris project "is not a done deal." He declined to comment further "because discussions are still ongoing."

$180,000 for Continental Plastics, in the southeast portion of Baltimore County. The container company, hurt last year by the closure of a major customer, the Baltimore Procter & Gamble soap plant, plans to move operations here from factories in New Jersey and Ohio, Hannon said, saving 60 existing jobs and bringing 100 new ones.

$1 million for Offray & Son Inc., a Washington County fabric and ribbon maker, to expand. The money would save 500 existing jobs and add 150 new ones, according to documents from the economic development department.

$1 million to renovate a facility in Washington County for Tele-spectrum, a telemarketing company that would bring 250 jobs to the area.

$500,000 for Aspen Systems to renovate a facility and relocate equipment in Montgomery County. The incentive is supposed to help the county retain 800 jobs and add 150 new ones.

$800,000 to renovate a park-bench factory in Caroline County for Victor Stanley/Unisite. The money would help create 100 new jobs.

Also included in the proposal is $650,000 for SCM Chemical of Baltimore to build a research and development facility with 70 new jobs.

But one state official, who asked for anonymity, said that SCM had recently withdrawn its request. And he warned that more "Sunny Day" proposals would probably come soon to the Legislative Policy Committee.

Pub Date: 12/06/96

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