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Leadership group meets with lawmakers

February 18, 2009|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

ANNAPOLIS -- Adam Donius soon will take over as a manager for Chik-fil-A in Hagerstown and said he plans to own his own franchise someday.

Now, he said, is the best time to buy or open a business.

"Stuff's cheap," he said.

Donius and other Washington County business people, nonprofit representatives and government employees were in Annapolis Wednesday with the Leadership Washington County class they are enrolled in.

The day trip was part of a lesson on state government. The class meets about once each month for one year covering topics such as education, government and social services.

School Board member Justin M. Hartings and Hagerstown City Council candidate Joseph A. Marschner are part of the group of about 20 that started the day by meeting with Washington County's delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

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While Donius is enthusiastic about going into business, lawmakers told the group Wednesday the state's economic situation appears bleak, despite a federal economic stimulus package totaling $827 billion that includes money for Maryland.

"Watch what happens with this," said Del. LeRoy E. Myers Jr., R-Washington/Allegany. "This is only going to delay our problems."

The Washington County group met with Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown Wednesday and former Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr. later in the day.

Brown greeted the group and said he wanted to say how important groups that promote leadership are for Maryland communities. He said it was good for local business people and community leaders to spend the day learning about state government and "seeing what we do."

Donius said the highlight of the day for him was a presentation on the history of Annapolis by Hagerstown Community College professor Thomas G. Clemens.

The Washington County delegation told the leadership group while Maryland's economy has suffered, the state is much better off than states such as California.

Del. Andrew A. Serafini, R-Washington, said state revenue is up, but is not keeping pace with spending.

"These are very difficult times," said Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington. "Hopefully, we will not be facing these difficult times forever."

Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr., who is unaffiliated and represents parts of Washington and Frederick counties, said the state should stop spending more money than it takes in.

"Nobody but government does that," he said. "We have to stop doing that ... and it's painful. You can't keep expecting as the ultimate consumer of government that we're going to meet your expectations if those expectations exceed the revenue we're taking from you."

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