Big money in MBNA project $719 million: Credit card company would be Baltimore County's second-largest employer.

February 16, 1997

QUESTION: What would it take to add 67 officers to the Baltimore County Police Department? ANSWER: About $2.4 million, approximately the boost in county revenues that would come about if MBNA, the giant credit card company, should decide to establish a regional headquarters here.

Q. What would it take to pay the state's share for 4,000 public school students? A. $15 million, the extra state revenues that would result.

Numbers that can be extrapolated from the MBNA deal are dazzling. Let's take the biggest: $719 million a year in total wages and salaries, employee benefits and state and county tax revenues from the company's employees and other workers benefiting from its economic spinoff. The Delaware-based corporation would instantly become the county's second-largest employer, outranked only by Bethlehem Steel, according to state and county estimates.

MBNA-Maryland would have 3,000 people on its payroll within two years at an average yearly salary of $50,000. In addition to this $150 million payroll, the company would be spending $45 million in benefits for employees who, in turn, would be paying $8.8 million in state income taxes, $1.6 million in state sales taxes and $4.4 million in local piggyback taxes. Total direct impact: $250 million, just for starters as MBNA continues its breathless expansion.

What about the indirect impact? This is what the economists call "multipliers" in the purchase of additional goods and services from a secondary tier of suppliers. These companies would be paying $115.3 million in wages plus $34.6 million in benefits to 2,909 workers who, in turn, would be spending $3.7 million in state income taxes, $892,900 in sales taxes and $1.8 million in piggyback.

That, of course, doesn't count what all of the 5,900 workers would be contributing to charities and non-profit organizations. MBNA is regarded as the top corporate contributor in the country to United Way. In Delaware, it has just given $35 million to public education.

All these numbers explain, in part, why Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger has been so active in trying to lure MBNA to our area. Because many of MBNA's employees would live in neighboring counties or Baltimore City, this is a project that would benefit the whole region in a big way.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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