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UMd. Launches New Econ Degree For Working Professionals

The University of Maryland has begun a new master’s degree program in applied economics for working professionals looking to advance their careers. The program is designed to train people in the economic analysis of policy issues.
After completing core courses, students choose a specialty in environment economics, health economics, law economics, marketing design and game theory, and program analysis and evaluation, says Marianne Ley Hayek, executive director of professional masters programs at the University of Maryland College Park’s department of economics.
“Any government agency increasingly has to justify and measure results,” says Hayek.
The program is designed to be convenient for working professionals. Classes are held at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., near a metro stop. Classes are offered in the evenings and are taught by people with “real-life experience,” she says.
The first class in the program enrolled 25 students. Hayek expects the program to grow but class size will be kept small.  
Candidates for the program must have a bachelor of arts degree, taken two economic courses during their undergraduate years and meet other requirements. The 15-month-long program consists of 10 courses, at a fee of $2,750 per course. There is no difference in the fee for in-state and out-of-state students. The University of Maryland issues the diploma.
The fall 2012 program is accepting online registration by June 1.

Source: Mariane Ley Hayek, executive director of professional masters programs, University of Maryland, College Park department of economics
Writer: Barbara Pash

Ad Group Opposes Proposed Tax on Digital Goods

The American Advertising Federation of Baltimore has succeeded in its opposition to a provision in Governor Martin O’Malley’s budget bill that, for the first time, would have taxed digital products and services.

The provision would have imposed a 6 percent tax on digital goods like web videos, software services, sound recordings and apps for newspapers and magazines. Currently, Maryland’s 6 percent sales tax does not cover such products and services.
 Cynthia Blake Sanders, chair of the AAF Baltimore. Sanders, along with Ronald Weinholt of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Stephen Kranz, on behalf of the regional Digital Goods and Services Coalition, testified against the provision at legislative committees’ hearings.
According to Raquel Guillory, the governor’s spokesperson, “there was never an intention to affect advertising agencies.” After lobbying efforts against the provision, it was being rewritten to clarify the language when the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee voted to reject it.

The governor’s original budget bill, Senate Bill 152/House Bill 87, has been split into a four-bill package. The provision ended up in and was removed from Senate Bill 523. The Senate is expected to debate the resulting bill March 21.
Sanders detailed her objections to the provision in a letter to the governor, writing that “the broad language of [the provision] captures sales of advertising, design and production services provided by AAF Baltimore members.”
There appears to be a movement across the country to tax digital downloads. Guillory says that 30 states tax computer software and 24 states tax digital downloads.
The state estimated the provision would have brought in $5 million in taxes. Sanders disputes that claim, based on numbers provided by the national American Advertising Federation.
Taxes on digital goods “are new and controversial, and there are conflicting laws,” says Sanders, adding that the tax would put Maryland businesses at a disadvantage to their out-of-state competitors.
Sources: Cynthia Blake Sanders, American Advertising Federation of Baltimore; Ronald Weinholt, Maryland Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Barbara Pash

Columbia's triCerat Gets New President, CFO

Columbia based technology firm triCerat is shaking things up this winter.

The enterprise solutions and desktop applications firm has hired a new president and a new chief financial officer as it beta tests a new scanning application.

Vasilios Peros was recently named president and general counsel. Peros is known for his work as the chair of the Maryland State Bar Association’s intellectual property division and was the winner of Venable LLP’s 2005 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year Award. Timothy L. Beal has been named triCerat's new Chief Financial Officer.

"I enjoy managing a company, putting the pieces together,” Peros says. “ We have already decided that we're going to crank it up and compete at a much higher level.”

Best known for its ScrewDrivers print management solution, triCerat is developing a new product. The company's next office management solution Scanect will be focused on scanning in an enterprise environment. The new application automatically configures an office's scanners from the server side. It is in beta testing an expected to release in early spring.

Writer: Amy McNeal
Source: Vasilios Peros, triCerat
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