Md. office in Hong Kong stays in budget


ANNAPOLIS -- Maryland's development office in Hong Kong survived yesterday the first, albeit preliminary, budget action by lawmakers addressing the state's economic-development policy.

A subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee ignored budget analysts' recommendations and decided not to cut the $488,833 in fiscal 1992 funding for the office, which promotes trade with Maryland for the International Division of the state Department of Economic and Employment Development.

In a hearing before the panel last week, department Secretary J. Randall Evans said Maryland exported about $490 million worth of goods to Asia last year, much of it as a result of the staff in the Hong Kong office.

"I really believe that exports -- goods and services -- are going to lead this state," Mr. Evans said.

The panel, chaired by Delegate Howard P. Rawlings, D-Baltimore, also agreed to retain $316,825 in funding for the department's Office of Technology Development, which provides grants to small high-technology businesses and to some of the state's regional technology councils.

However, the panel decided to cut most of the almost $900,000 in funds for Maryland Magazine, a publication of the Economic and Employment Development Department that will be transferred to the Department of Natural Resources.

The Office of Sports Promotion, scheduled to receive more than $660,000 next year, was spared budget cuts.

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