From the office of Del. Mary-Dulany James:
As session begins to wind down, I wanted to update you on the several parts of the Capital Budget that will benefit our area. The Capital Budget includes funding for a number of specific important local projects that focuses on buildings and construction. As well, I wanted to let you know about my efforts to protect manufacturing jobs and oppose a tax increase that would have impacted a great number of people.
Harford and Cecil Schools Get $16.6 Million for Construction
Part of the Capital Budget is funding for schools to improve buildings and undertake renovations. I am proud to say that our area schools did very well in this year’s Capital Budget. Harford County schools will receive $14.8 million for construction, a $1 million increase over last year, and Cecil County schools will get $1.8 million, a $100,000 increase over last year. Harford Community College is set to receive $8.7 million for construction and another $1.16 million to renovate and expand the Susquehanna Center. The College has been trying to fund this project for a couple of years and I am pleased that this will get it moving forward. Cecil Community College is set to receive $2.2 million for Phase I of construction of the Science Laboratory Arts and Sciences Building.
Supporting Boy Scouts and Conservation
I worked with Senator Barry Glassman to secure $250,000 for the Broad Creek Maryland Boy Scouts of America Ecology Conservation and Learning Center. The Center will be a place of learning for tens of thousands of Marylanders of all ages about our natural resources and conserving them. I felt that this was a project that would benefit Marylanders from throughout the state, and was motivated to ensure that it was not cast aside during the Capital Budget process.
Renewing Camp Conowingo
I mentioned in an update in February that I introduced a bond bill to replace and repair water lines and the waste water treatment system at Camp Conowingo on the Susquehanna River in Cecil County with the hope to have repairs completed before this summer so Girl Scouts of Maryland can enjoy the camp to its fullest. I was successful in securing the $250,000 the camp needs.
Boosting Plumpton Park Zoo
Along with Delegate Rudolph, I sponsored a bond to provide $100,000 for construction and renovation of the Giraffe Conservation and Education Center at the Plumpton Park Zoological Gardens. These funds will go to make sure the beloved Pulmpton Park Zoo giraffe, Jimmy, has an adequate home, and maybe enough space for a companion giraffe. The new owners of the Zoo have worked hard since late last year to modernize the park, and its benefit to the area deserved the support these funds will provide.
Cecil County Detention Center
Cecil County will receive $5 million for the second phase of the construction on the County Detention Center.
Protecting Manufacturing, Opposing the Snack Tax
Over the course of my career in the House of Delegates I have worked to oppose the imposition of a tax on certain snack food items. This is an unwarranted food tax that targets products in a way that I feel is both unfair to consumers and would damage manufacturing, and the larger economy, in the region. Frito Lay is both a major employer and major consumer of Maryland’s goods. The manufacturing center in Aberdeen employs about 1,000 people. The facility consumes goods from suppliers such as McCormick Spices, local potato farmers throughout the State, and Wilkins Rogers Flour Company located in Ellicott City. I sent a letter to the chairmen of the committees where this bill was being heard, and I am assured that they are taking note of mine and others’ concerns. I included the memo I sent below.
As this session wraps up here in Annapolis, I hope these updates are useful for you in keeping up with what is going on in the General Assembly. For more information about work I do, or to share your opinions and concerns, please contact me on the web at MaryDulanyJames.com, by e-mail at Mary.Dulany.James@house.state.md.us, or by calling at 410-841-3331. I look forward to hearing from you on the issues that are most important to you. When you are in Annapolis please stop by!
March 30, 2011
To: The House Health and Government Operations Committee
The Senate Budget and Taxation Committee
The Senate Finance Committee
From: Delegate Mary-Dulany James
Re: Oppose House Bill 716 and Senate Bill 829 – Health – Maryland Combating Obesity Grant Program (Snack Tax)
I write in opposition to HB 716 and SB 829, which would impose a so called “snack tax” on nine food products. Just like all the legislators that have represented Harford County over the past 20 years, I have worked long and hard with manufacturers to bring stable, well-paying, manufacturing and production jobs to the Harford County area. I am deeply concerned that this tax would be detrimental to our local economy.
Frito Lay has 1,000 employees in Maryland. There are more than 400 full time employees at Frito Lay’s Harford County Aberdeen facility. Frito Lay plans to significantly increase investment in this facility. The Frito Lay facility in Aberdeen is an important business for my constituents. While Frito Lay currently operates in my district, this Committee should not lose sight of the fact that many other Maryland businesses benefit greatly from Frito Lay’s economic activity. For example, suppliers such as McCormick Spices, local potato farmers throughout the State, and Wilkins Rogers Flour Company located in Ellicott City, all provide goods and products to Frito Lay. While we all celebrate the new 21st century jobs that are coming to Maryland from BRAC, to Harford County in particular, a diversity of jobs in the area, including manufacturing jobs, are critical to a balanced and broad based economy.
This year’s “snack tax” proposal is the latest in a long line of attempts to single out and tax the certain kinds of food made by Frito Lay. Since 1996, these proposals have been unsuccessful because the House and Senate have appreciated the overall and broad economic benefit Frito Lay provides to this State, and I hope the State continues its commitment and support. Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact me at 410-841-3331.