County Economic Directors Meet with Business Climate Commission

Flexible grants and incentive tools, workforce training, and interdepartmental cooperation across state agencies were running themes among a panel of county economic development directors presenting at the Maryland Commission on Economic Development and Business Climate meeting held Tuesday at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River in St. Mary’s County. As reported in The Daily Record:

Laurie Boyer, the director of economic development in Rockville, called on the commission to include in its recommendations a call to action for those agencies.

“It’s important that there is cross-communication between these agencies so that they understand they don’t work in a silo,” Boyer said.

Boyer was joined by Mary Burkholder, executive vice president of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation, in calling on the commission to also recommend that the next governor and General Assembly increase funding to grants provided by the Department of Business Economic Development and give the agency more flexibility in how it administers money to smaller companies and communities.

“They should be restored,” Burkholder said.

County economic development panelists included:

  • William A. Badger, Jr., Director, Economic Development, Worcester County
  • Mary Burkholder, Executive Vice President, Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.
  • Kimberly A. Clark, Executive Vice President, Baltimore Development Corp.
  • Matthew W. Diaz, Director, Economic and Community Development, Allegany County

In addition to the panel of county economic development directors, a panel of municipal economic development directors presented sharing similar thoughts as to economic development on the local level. Municipal economic development panelists included:

  • Dan Burris, Mayor, Leonardtown
  • Laurie Boyer, Economic Development Director, Rockville
  • Richard Griffin, Economic Development Director, Frederick

MACo and MML submitted a joint statement raising key issues of importance to local government. From the written statement:

Local governments, just as the State, have a vested interest in economic development. Local economic growth creates jobs and increases salaries, which in turn expands the tax base both locally and statewide. Therefore, State and local governments must work in partnership on these efforts. Only through a concerted, cooperative effort can we ensure buy-in from all stakeholders to achieve our economic goals.

Over the course of the day the commission also heard from representatives of higher education, small and minority businesses, and local businesses.

The Commission is tasked to “examine the State’s current economic development structure and incentive programs, and make recommendations to keep Maryland competitive in economic and private sector growth and prosperity” and must report to the Senate President and House Speaker by December 2014.

For more information read the full article in The Daily Record.

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