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Annapolis Notes - Feb. 27

February 27, 2012

Washington County pursuing tax-credit program
Washington County has joined Frederick County, Md., in trying to start a new system of property-tax credits for new or expanding businesses.
To qualify, an existing business would have to add at least 1,500 square feet to its premises and create at least one new full-time job during a 12-month period. A new business would have to add at least 2,500 square feet and create at least five full-time jobs during a 24-month period.
The county property-tax credit for existing businesses would be 52 percent the first two years, 39 percent the next two years and 26 percent the next two years after that.
For new businesses, the three tiers would be 30 percent, 20 percent and 10 percent.
Washington County asked to be added to Frederick County’s bill, which the Senate passed 47-0 on Wednesday, sending it to the House.

Gorrell goes out testifying
Smithsburg-area resident Howard L. Gorrell spent part of his last day as a Marylander testifying in Annapolis, he wrote in an email.
His plan was to testify on three Senate bills on the redistricting process and four House bills on child-support and custody issues.
Gorrell wrote that he has accepted a position in Yakima, Wash., as a deaf and hard-of-hearing case manager for the Hearing Loss Center.

A liquor board term
The Maryland Senate on Friday approved a list of appointments to state board and commissions, including one in Washington County.
William F. Dunham Jr. will serve a six-year term on the Washington County Board of License Commissioners, commonly known as the liquor board.
His new term is retroactive to June 1, 2011, and expires in 2017.

Bipartisan praise for notary bill
Sen. Christopher B. Shank’s bill on notaries public inspired three of his colleagues to talk about it on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
Currently, state senators review and approve applications for notaries — official witnesses for certain documents — within their districts. Shank’s bill lets senators pass that oversight role to the state Secretary of State, which already reviews out-of-state applications.
First, Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, R-Carroll/Howard, commended Shank, calling the current system “a terrible way for us to do business.”
Kittleman said he’s tried and failed to get a similar bill passed.
Sen. Delores G. Kelley, D-Baltimore County, D-Baltimore County, also praised the bill, saying she, too, tried unsuccessfully to get a similar measure passed about 15 years ago.
In between, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert/Prince George’s, offered a brief history of notaries public in Maryland. Until about 40 years ago, the position was prestigious and each town usually had just one notary, he said.
The Senate approved Shank’s bill 42-5, sending it to the House for consideration.

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— Andrew Schotz

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