April 22, 2014 ABERDEEN–The new Towson University building and new nursing and allied health building on Harford Community College’s campus, this year’s legislative session and upcoming events were discussed at the Harford County Business Advisory Council meeting Tuesday morning in Aberdeen.
Harford Community College Updates
Harford Community College President Dennis Golladay said the Towson University building on HCC’s campus is on schedule to be ready for classes this fall. The unique partnership between HCC and Towson sharing a location is the first of its kind in Maryland, according to Golladay, who along with others petitioned for 18 months in Annapolis to get the OK to break ground on the building.
The Towson building at HCC will house undergraduate degree programs currently being offered at the University Center (formerly the HEAT Center) in Aberdeen, including business administration, elementary education/special education, early childhood/special education, information technology, psychology and sociology.
“Towson is the largest draw for our students” Golladay said. “It made sense for both institutions to do this … we have a nice harmonious track for our students from high school to (HCC) to Towson.”
Towson has contributed $22 million for the construction of the three-story, 58,000 square-feet building with five labs, seven classrooms and a lecture hall. HCC is leasing the land for the building to Towson for a minimal amount.
The second academic building under construction on HCC’s campus is Darlington Hall, which will be “HCC’s central hub for students pursing nursing and allied health degrees and certificates,” according to the college’s website.
The building, which was designed with input from HCC faculty and students, will include an allied health lab, an EMT lab and ambulance bay, a multipurpose lab and a smart classroom, as well as several classrooms and student study spaces.
The state of Maryland has contributed $10.5 million and Harford County $7.4 million to the three-story, 53,000 square-foot building.
“The building will be an asset for the community, also,” because of the continuing education opportunities, Golladay said.
While the two projects are on their way to completion before or during the 2014-15 academic year, Golladay said the college still has logistic hurdles to overcome, including not being tied into the county water and sewer system.
Not being on the county system has its drawbacks. For example, the baseball field could not be watered because that meant toilets would not be able to be flushed in other parts o the campus. Golladay asked for the council’s help in working toward connecting the college to the county water and septic system.
Golladay estimates around 7,200 for credit and 10,000 non-credit students are enrolled at HCC at any one time, meaning there could be up to 17,000 bodies on campus at one time. He estimates the college employs about 1,000 people.
Legislative Session Wrap-Up
GBC President and CEO Don Fry gave a Maryland General Assembly 2014 Legislative Session wrap-up, focusing on major issues the assembly took action on, which included increasing the minimum wage, reforming the estate tax and passing the Senate President and House Speaker’s joint legislative package.
Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014
- Incrementally increases the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour by 2018
- Allows businesses to pay a training wage for workers younger than 20 for first six months of employment
- Does not tie future increases to inflation or increase wage for tipped workers as originally proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley
Maryland Estate Tax
- Incrementally increases the amount at which an estate can be taxed from $1 million to the Federal level
- Threshold increases to $1.5 M on January 1, 2015
- Threshold increases to $2 M on January 1, 2016
- Threshold increases to $3 M on January 1, 2017
- Threshold increases to $4 M on January 1, 2018
- Threshold increases to federal exemption level January 1, 2019
- Federal level expected to be $5.9 million by 2019 (amount is indexed to inflation)
Joint Legislative Agenda
- Senate President Miller and Speaker Busch announced joint legislative agenda for economic development in January
- RISE Zones – Establishes the Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zone program to promote targeted community development by anchor institutions
- Maryland E-Nnovation Program – Allows Maryland insurance companies to purchase tax credits against insurance premiums; proceeds are used to fund scientific and technical research at higher education institutions
- Cybersecurity Investment Fund – Establishes the Cybersecurity Investment Fund within TEDCO to provide seed and early-stage funding for Maryland cyber companies
- Increased Tax Transparency – Requires the comptroller to include on every Maryland tax return a graphical representation of how General Fund dollars are spent
- Private Sector Commission – Established a private sector commission to review Maryland’s Economic Development Support and Business Climate
- Recoupled the Estate Tax (previously discussed)
May 22: GBC Annual Meeting
The GBC’s premier business event that brings together community leaders from the greater Baltimore region will be Thursday, May 22. Honeywell CEO and Chief Executive Magazine’s 2013 CEO of the Year David Cote will be the keynote speaker. Cote persistently champions what he terms an “American Competitiveness Agenda,” which relates to core pillars for competitiveness promoted by business and civic leaders in the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 2010 report “Gaining a Competitive Edge” and its 2013 report, “Compact for Competitiveness.” Among other accomplishments, he served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, otherwise known as the Simpson-Bowles Commission, and is on the steering committee of the Fix the Debt campaign founded by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
Summer 2014: Harford County Happy Hour
GBC council staffer Sara Garbarino is planning a happy hour for Harford County business people sometime this summer. She is collecting recommendations for invitees and deciding a date and location.
September 16: Next Harford County Business Advisory Council meeting