Ecker has led Howard to top economically

March 04, 1997|By Donora L. Dingman

THIS LETTER is in response to the Feb. 18 editorial, "Ecker's record of accomplishment."

I take exception to the assertion that "economic development has not prospered as much as it has in other metropolitan counties." This statement is not based on fact.

Howard County leads the state of Maryland in job creation -- especially when compared with the metropolitan counties. According to the Maryland Industrial Profile issued in November by the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, "From 1990 to 1995, Howard County registered the highest job gains."

In fact, Howard has registered the highest job gains expressed both as a percentage and in terms of absolute numbers. In each of the last three years, our average net job growth has been 5 percent per year. No other jurisdiction can match this record.

At the same time, the average weekly wages in Howard County, also reported by Labor, Licensing and Regulation have been among the highest in Maryland. For the last period in which complete annual figures are available, 1994 to 1995, our average weekly wages increased 3.2 percent. No other Maryland county had a higher growth in wages. . . .

The Feb. 18 editorial also cited Howard County's 19 percent commercial tax base as "disturbingly low." It is lower than we would like it to be. The Howard County Economic Development Authority has called for the adoption of a 25 percent base as the optimum balance and a long term goal for Howard County. Yet, even this objective must be taken in context.

Prince George's County, at 20 percent, and Baltimore County, at 19.6 percent, have commercial tax bases that exceed Howard County's. However, our base is higher than that of either Anne Arundel, Montgomery, Frederick or Harford counties. . . .

Howard County's growth and prosperity has been broad and diverse. All industry sectors, including manufacturing, have grown. As you suggest, some of this is attributable to our location in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Some of our success is also the result of a concerted effort by the current county administration to accommodate the needs of business to the good of all our citizens.

We have not made a lot of noise. Flamboyant posturing is not our style. Working to create quality jobs for the citizens of Howard hTC County is. We have a proud record of doing just that.

Donora L. Dingman

Columbia

The writer chairs the board of the Howard County Economic Development Authority.

Pub Date: 3/04/97

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