Gov. William Donald Schaefer told a county Chamber of Commerce audience yesterday that three counties in Maryland have what he considers a "really hot" climate for business and growth -- Harford, Montgomery and Howard.
"This is a pro-business county," he told about 200 chamber members at a Columbia Inn luncheon marking the beginning of the business group's 1992-93 year. "And you've maintained a high quality of life and an emphasis on education. That's to be commended.
"Business development, growth and keeping up education is important, and the chamber is important in that," the governor said.
He praised the chamber for its role in helping to attract Coca-Cola Enterprises Northeast to Howard.
The governor spent yesterday morning in discussions with the County Council and County Executive Charles I. Ecker in an effort to hammer out an agreement with Coca-Cola on water rates, a sticking point in negotiations.
Mr. Ecker announced at the luncheon that the council has approved legislation giving Coca-Cola a lower rate than the county routinely charges for bringing water to a building site. Coca-Cola could bring about 700 jobs and $4 million in annualrevenue to the county, the county executive said.
"You shouldn't underestimate the chamber's role," the governor said. "You bring pressure to politicians. You look out for the best interest of the county, and when you do that, it's in the best interest of the state."
Mr. Schaefer briefly discussed subjects, including opening up international markets for local businesses and state budget cuts that are expected to cost Maryland's 23 counties and Baltimore $150 million in state aid.
The governor said that despite the budget crunch, the state and local governments need to improve math and science education to maintain an edge in economic development.
He also called on Howard business leaders to help promote Major League Baseball's All-Star game next summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.