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Bringing jobs to Maryland Sunny Day Fund: Enticing new businesses sometimes takes help from state.

THE GLENDENING administration received two welcome holiday presents just before Christmas. First T. Rowe Price Associates announced a huge expansion in Ownings Mills; then a legislative panel heaped glowing praise on Dr. Robert C. Gallo's downtown biotechnology center and paved the way for approval of a state aid package. Both moves mean jobs.

T. Rowe Price's plans call for five buildings near McDonogh School on a campus that will eventually house 3,500 workers. To land this plum, Gov. Parris Glendening and his business development chief, James Brady, beat out aggressive offers from southern states. Maryland did so with a $1 million grant tied to the company's future hiring levels, a $2 million interest-free loan and a $750,000 job-training grant. Without such enticements, the T. Rowe Price expansion would be bound for the Sun Belt.

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Similarly, it took an aggressive state aid package to land Dr. Gallo's Institute of Human Virology that will focus initially on AIDS research. In fact, just a week earlier, Dr. Gallo and a team of scientists said they had found three chemicals made by the body that block the progress of the AIDS virus. The search for new treatments intensifies.

Not only does the Gallo institute give Baltimore an imposing presence in AIDS research, but spin-off, for-profit ventures could come quickly. Both world-class scientists and production jobs are headed for Baltimore. Without the state's generous assistance package from its Sunny Day Fund, Dr. Gallo would probably be living in South Carolina or Virginia.

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These recent events underline the importance of the governor's request for a much larger Sunny Day Fund. A joint legislative panel has now thrown its support behind the proposal to boost the fund from $20 million to $30 million. Given the success Mr. Glendening has had using fund money this year, it would be a wise investment in Maryland's future.

The fund, though, is just one part of the drive to make this state competitive. Tax credits tied to job creation should be in the governor's legislative package. Even more crucial is a package of regulatory reforms to cut red tape.

Given Maryland's vulnerability to a rapidly shrinking federal government, a strong economic development push from Annapolis is essential. Lawmakers should embrace the governor's approach and send a clear message to corporate leaders that Maryland is anxious to gain their business.



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