Gov. Parris N. Glendening proposed yesterday spending more state money on worker training and economic development to create jobs in Maryland, while Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey gleefully picked up the endorsement of the governor's former business czar.
Addressing a group of about two dozen business people in Baltimore, Glendening did his best to ignore the defection of James T. Brady, who resigned from the governor's Cabinet last spring amid dissatisfaction with the state's efforts to improve its business climate.
"The Maryland economy is booming," Glendening said, as he listed statistics detailing an improvement in Maryland's job growth in 1997. "We should be very proud of our successes."
But, saying that more needed to be done, the governor promised to double state funding for two training programs and create a $50 million revolving loan fund to help attract business.
He also proposed the creation of a new apprenticeship program for the construction trades and called for legislation to make it easier for Maryland companies to defend themselves against hostile corporate takeovers.
"These efforts will make Maryland even more competitive," Glendening said.
Sauerbrey scored a coup earlier in the day when Brady, a Democrat, gave her a strong endorsement at a downtown fund-raiser attended by about 300 people.
Though he never mentioned his former boss by name, Brady took implicit swipes at Glendening's steadfastness.
"The issue that is most important to me is character," Brady said. "I don't think it's a nice, comfortable accessory. I believe it's everything.
"I've never heard anyone question the character and integrity [Sauerbrey] brings to what she does," he said. "Let's bring that back to the state of Maryland. That's the most important thing we can have in Annapolis, and Ellen Sauerbrey has that."
During the event, Sauerbrey announced that she has appointed Brady to lead an economic development committee that will advise her campaign in its final three weeks.
"I think everyone understands we are under-performing economically," Sauerbrey said. "It's not because of people; it's because of policies."
Brady resigned in April after three years with Glendening, citing differences over some of the governor's decisions.
Brady and others in the business community were disappointed, for example, by the governor's granting of limited collective bargaining rights to state employees and by his opposition to the Inter-County Connector, a major highway long planned for Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Asked about Brady's assertion that Maryland has not done enough to help business, Glendening replied, "Humbug."
Glendening noted that he had endorsed the No. 1 recommendation made by Brady and other business leaders -- a 10 percent cut in state income taxes, which was approved last year by the General Assembly.
The governor also increased funding for the state's primary economic development fund from about $4 million to $26 million. Yesterday, he proposed increasing it to $30 million.
Glendening suggested that his critics in the business community would like to see him eliminate environmental protections, something he said he would not do.
Pub Date: 10/15/98