Gansler outlines policies to boost manufacturing

HAGERSTOWN — Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler outlined plans Friday to promote manufacturing in the state.

Gansler, who is planning a run for governor, held a forum in Hagerstown to announce a variety of plans to grow future manufacturing jobs.

For example, Gansler said he would like to revise the procurement and grant policies for all state agencies to give preference to goods and services manufactured or provided by Maryland businesses, if they are competitively priced or of comparable quality.

Gansler also said he believes industrial business zones across the state should be identified to facilitate the growth of Maryland’s manufacturing hubs. He noted the importance of setting aside land for manufacturing businesses, so that it would not be zoned for commercial or residential development. For the zones set aside for industry, Maryland would subsidize workforce training programs for manufacturing-related jobs and provide tax credits for manufacturing companies that move into vacant commercial or residential property. Grants also would be awarded for capital projects under the plan, Gansler said.

Gansler also said he would like to help businesses that benefit from the current Research & Development Tax Credit by extending them a tax credit for manufacturing those products in Maryland.

In another step, the plan would provide tax increment financing or tax abatements for Maryland businesses renovating vacant industrial buildings to manufacture renewable energy systems.

The attorney general is holding a series of forums around the state to discuss policy ideas. The event in Hagerstown is the second one. Last month, he held a forum in Rockville focused on initiatives to prevent domestic violence.

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