Technology, Gaming Priorities for Washington Co. Delegation

ANNAPOLIS, MD - The Washington County Delegation met for the first time this legislative session Wednesday morning.

The eight-member delegation kicked things into high gear in Annapolis and went through six county bills.

"The main priority of the delegation, and we're pretty unified on this, is the disparity grant. This is funding for the local government that was cut back in 2009. We're working really hard to try and get that restored. Ultimately, it would benefit public education in Washington County," says Sen. Chris Shank, (R) - Washington County.

The delegation also wants to change the definition of an "amusement device" to include games paid through a coin, token, or something else of value.

Another bill would authorize bond money for capital improvement projects.

"Every now and then, they have to come to the state legislature to get approval. They've asked for $20 million less than they did many years ago. We approved that level. It's enabling. They have to decide if and when they want to go to the market and borrow money," Del. Andrew Serafini, (R) - chairman of the Washington County Delegation.

The delegation also voted to give the county sheriff a pay raise from $88,000 to $100,000 a year.

"The county recommended increasing the sheriff's salary, and we're going to support the county. We voted to approve the increase in the sheriff's salary, but we're also going to try and make sure that decision in the future can be determined right at the county level," says Del. Neil Parrott, (R) - vice chairman of the Washington County Delegation.

Technology has become a big part of Washington County. Another bill would allow electronics and hardware companies to pay their personal property taxes over several years, instead of having to pay them all up front.

"There are opportunities to bring high-paying jobs into our county, so it's all about increasing the opportunity for work for the people that need it," says Ruth Anne Callaham, (R) - Washington County Commissioner.

"I think this would be a big benefit to technology companies, especially those who want to come into Washington County and have a major big investments at first so they won't be hit with not only a huge major investment but then with a huge property tax to follow," Parrott says.

Washington County will be added onto a Frederick County bill giving a property tax credit to small businesses.

These are issues the delegation will hash out for the next two and a half months of session.

The bills the delegation voted on will now go into committee. They'll then move to both the house and the senate for a vote.

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