Physicians are choosing employment by hospitals versus running their own private practice. How will this growing trend impact the health of your medical care?
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
Photography by Erick Gibson
Has your doctor disappeared? Did he or she take down the shingle and exchange it for an office at a hospital or health care corporation? It’s what the American Medical Association is calling the “silent exodus” of physicians who are leaving independent private practices.
The numbers themselves are quite telling. From 2000 to 2009, the percentage of U.S. doctors working in private practices dropped nearly 15 percent and that number is projected to decline 10 percent more this year, according to an analysis by Accenture, a global management consulting firm. These departures will leave less than one-third of physicians working in independent private practices, compared with 57 percent working in private practices 13 years ago.
Doctors are trading in their small businesses for staff positions with hospitals and large physician-owned practices. The Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) found that nationwide there has been a 75 percent increase in physicians employed by hospitals since 2000.
And our community isn’t immune from this trend. “Yes, it’s playing out here in Frederick,” says Dr. Manny Casiano, chief medical officer at Frederick Memorial Hospital (FMH). “It’s playing out throughout Maryland.”
Frederick County has seen an upsurge in physicians employed by the hospital. “It’s definitely increased in recent years,” observes Casiano. “Over the last five years, it has probably doubled.” Currently FMH employs about 60 physicians and more than 20 physician assistants and nurse practitioners, notes Jim Williams, vice president of business and physician development at FMH.
“It’s definitely real,” confirms Gene Ransom, CEO of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society. “It’s definitely going on. It’s definitely happening.”
Oddly enough, it’s happening at a time when one-third of all doctors in the country plan to retire in this decade despite the aging Baby Boomer generation requiring greater medical attention. Couple this reality with those newly insured by health care reform generating more demand for health services. Maryland, along with the nation, currently suffers from a physician shortage.
What’s Up, Doc?
Experts believe several factors are causing the flight from private practice, including the rising costs of running a business, expensive and mandatory electronic health record systems, low physician reimbursement rates and high medical malpractice insurance rates. Health care reform might also be to blame.
A survey of 100,000 physicians in 2010 found that 68 percent of doctors believe the Affordable Care Act will reduce the financial viability of the private practice. The leaders of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Healt System and University of Maryland Medical System recently stated publicly the federal law that will create an influx of new patients seeking care from already overburdened primary practitioners without supporting a growth in the number of doctors.
Others disagree. “I would actually say that it’s not fair to blame health care reform,” says Ransom. “I’d say that’s a part of it, but a lot of things really caused the change. It used to be a doctor could have a small office, even in his house, with a nurse and could easily bill. Now, frankly, just running a business in America is more complex.”
Physicians claim that their expenses over the past 11 years have doubled and the cost of living during this time soared 30 percent, according to David Gans, senior fellow of industry affairs at MGMA. “Meanwhile, payment from Medicare and most other insurers has gone up very little — 5 percent in 10 years. There’s no surprise that a physician would forego autonomy for economic security of being part of a larger system.”
Reimbursement rates for physicians are also low in Maryland. “Maryland has some of the lowest physician reimbursement rates in the country,” Casiano states. “And relatively high cost of living, as everyone knows. Maryland has some of the higher malpractice insurance rates around. Private practices can be tough, especially in a state like Maryland.”
Working 9 to 5
Will it matter if your doctor is in private practice or employed by a hospital? It depends.
Ransom says there are a variety of factors at work, and time is one of them. “I know doctors who have become employed [by a hospital or health care corporation], and it’s not that they’re not as good as private practice doctors, but what happens is when you get a job with a hospital, suddenly you want to work 35 hours a week,” he says. “Whereas the guy or woman who owns his or her own private practice is working 60 to 70 hours a week. They see a lot more patients; they work late hours. They will work on weekends, and they will do calls in the middle of the night.”
A report by doctor-recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates found that employed physicians work fewer hours than physicians in private practice, but the difference is slight (employed physicians work on average 53.1 hours as opposed to 54.1 hours a week for private-practice physicians).
“I don’t think it’s fewer hours,” Casiano says. “The difference is that you’re spending the hours on what you were trained to do and the reason you went into medicine, which is taking care of patients.”
Both Ransom and Casiano agree that physicians employed by hospitals will most likely have lower stress levels. “It might also mean that your doctor is better rested and willing to spend a little extra time with you because there is not as much pressure on finances because the hospital is paying their salary and it’s not based on how many folks they see,” says Ransom.
Employed physicians also don’t have to worry about running a business. Williams notes that he hears comments from local physicians and recruiters that most doctors aren’t interested in running a business, which is basically what a private practice is. “They went to medical school because they wanted to take care of patients,” says Williams. “They’re looking for security in today’s environment.”
Casiano agrees. “I think the reason that employed physicians generally have lower stress levels is because what they are spending their time doing is what they were trained to do, what they want to do and what they enjoy doing,” he says, “as opposed to the business side of medicine, which most doctors really don’t enjoy and find pretty stressful.”
With a 75 percent increase in physicians employed by hospitals and health care systems since 2000, it might seem that hospitals are actively seeking out physicians to employ. However, the reality is a bit more complicated.
“What is the goal of the hospital?” asks Gans, who then ticks off a list of answers. “The goal of the hospital is to provide good patient care, to contribute to the community and to remain economically viable to do that in the future.” He points out that hospitals have high operating costs with the brick-and-mortar facility and staffing needs for 24/7 care, and sometimes hiring physicians might not be a financial benefit to the hospital. “I am observing some situations where hospitals are divesting their physician practices because, in their context, it doesn’t make sense.”
FMH has doubled the number of employed physicians, but the hospital’s first choice is to meet the physician need through the community’s private practices, according to Williams and Casiano. “We don’t have the money to employ every doctor in Frederick even if we wanted to, which we don’t,” says Casiano.
And the hospital doesn’t want to give the guise of competition either. “We don’t want to compete with our community physicians if they want to grow their practice and fill the need that is in our community,” adds Williams. FMH will conduct a medical manpower plan to determine the physician needs in Frederick. If a community practice is willing to recruit the needed physicians, FMH can assist and support the practice during recruitment. “If they are unable to or unwilling, and there’s a bona fide need, then that’s when we would look to recruit an employed physician.”
In 2007, a Maryland physician workforce study found that Western Maryland was experiencing a shortage in 20 of 30 physician categories. The report projected a critical shortage in the area in primary care and most specialties into 2015.
“I would be very concerned if I lived in a rural area,” warns Ransom.
Downtown Frederick is classified by the federal government as a medically underserved and health professionals shortage area. “We definitely have a primary care physician shortage,” says Casiano. “We’ll need upwards of 15 to 20 new primary care docs in the next 10 years. That’s what everyone is focused on now.”
Frederick County residents can turn to their local government if they are experiencing difficulties in their search for a doctor, especially if they have Medicaid or a state health insurance program. “For individuals who are having problems finding a physician that takes Medicaid, we have the ombudsman program here in the health department and individuals can call us to get one-on-one assistance,” says Jackie Dougé, deputy health officer at the Frederick County Health Department. Residents can also contact the department to see whether they are eligible for a state health insurance program (call Health Care Connection at 301-600 8888).
Williams is more optimistic about shortages in Frederick. “Our community continues to grow and our population is also aging so that creates a little more demand on health care. We want to continue to make sure that we have an adequate supply, but we’re not in the situation that some communities are where they truly don’t have enough physicians and patients do have access problems. We do not see significant access problems.”
Care, Cost, Convenience
In terms of the cost to patients, Gans says the price tag will be the same to see a doctor in private practice or a doctor employed by a hospital. “It doesn’t change how much you pay for services,” he says. “The insurance company contract determines that.”
Ransom points out that, anecdotally in his experience, negotiating with a physician in private practice is easier than negotiating with a hospital. “Sometimes it’s a little easier to negotiate with a small private practice doc than it is with a large institution,” he explains. “I know many docs who will just write it off — won’t charge people who can’t afford it. Whereas there are rules and restrictions that don’t necessarily allow the hospitals to do that. It depends on the hospital — some do and some don’t.”
So what’s the bottom line? What can we really expect from the silent exodus of doctors dropping out of private practice?
Despite the shortages, Frederick County was in the top quartile of Maryland counties for health status and health care access in a 2010 primary care needs assessment conducted by the state government.
“There can be both some inconvenience and convenience,” says Gans. “There may be fewer medical facilities in the community, but they have longer hours. In fact, because of the opportunity for the larger system to have longer hours and have nurse practitioners who augment the physicians’ efforts, I think when you need to see a physician, you will actually have easier access, but you may have to travel more to get it.”
The Concierge Is In
A new primary care model with annual membership fees gives a whole new meaning to ‘club med.’
By Stephanie Yamkovenko
Several trends are happening concurrently in the medical profession, and they are changing the nature of the health care industry. Some of the most common trends involve physicians leaving their private practice to join hospitals, and some doctors are opening a new type of practice — membership medicine.
More commonly known as “concierge care” or “boutique medicine,” the concept of this primary care model revolves around patients paying an annual retainer or membership fee to belong to a small practice that limits the number of patients and provides added benefits not typically covered by health insurance — for example, 24/7 access to a physician via phone or email. A Government Accounting Office (GAO) survey found annual fees range from just $60 to as much as $15,000 with a national average of $1,500 per patient.
In Maryland, several concierge medicine practices exist, but, so far, none are in Frederick County. Concierge Choice Physicians LLC has doctors’ offices in the Baltimore and Annapolis areas, while MDVIP physicians practice in Carroll County and Montgomery County. In a 2010 Washingtonian article, the executive director of the Medical Society of Northern Virginia estimated there were a couple hundred concierge practitioners areawide.
“Concierge medicine is interesting because it’s a category that has a lot of different definitions,” says David Gans, senior fellow of industry affairs at the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA). “In some cases, it implies a practice that takes no insurance at all.” Instead, patients pay a yearly fee rather than use health insurance to cover costs for medical services.
The American Medical Association estimates that fewer than 1,000 physicians nationwide have a full concierge practice where they do not accept health insurance.
Other practices adopt a more hybrid model that accepts health insurance but also allows patients to pay for access to services not reimbursed by insurance companies, such as spa treatments at a dermatologist’s office or the ability to communicate with your doctor via email. Fees would cover the costs of these services.
Opponents believe it creates a two-class health care system favoring those who can afford to pay for enhanced treatment while luring doctors away from practices serving less-privileged individuals. Proponents claim it’s a consumer-oriented model that is more responsive to individuals’ needs than assembly-line medicine. Time isn’t spent in congested waiting rooms overseen by surly office staff and in 15-minute consults before being rushed out the door. A limited workload allows physicians to focus on each patient, coordinate the treatments they — not the insurance company — deems necessary and spend more time on preventative care.
“I think you’re going to see, especially in the future, more physicians who are going to look at how they can improve services and have patients pay for services that would not be covered under insurance,” says Gans. “Patients like to have those benefits. We’re going to see changes of how services will be provided.”
- Employed physicians work on average 53.1 hours. Independent private practice physicians work 54.1 hours a week. Employed physicians see 17 percent fewer patients a day (18.1 patients compared to 29.1 in private practice). A quarter of doctors cited long hours and lack of personal time as among the least satisfying elements of their careers. Source: Reports conducted by the doctor recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates for the Physicians Foundation
- Downtown Frederick is a Medically Underserved Area (MUA) with a score of 58.10 (scores range from 1 to 100, with scores of 62 or less being classified as a MUA). Downtown Frederick is a Health Professionals Shortage Area (HPSA) with a score of 14 (range 0-25 – the higher the number, the greater the need for doctors). Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Health Resources and Services Administration, http://hpsafind.hrsa.gov
- Western Maryland has a shortage in 20 of 30 physician categories (report conducted in February 2007). Expect there to be a critical shortage in primary care and most specialties in Western Maryland through 2015. Source: Maryland Physician Workforce Study, sponsored by the Maryland Association and MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society
- In 2000, 57 percent of physicians were in independent practices. In 2005, 49 percent of physicians were independent practice physicians, and in 2009, the percentage decreased to 43 percent. The 2013 percentage is projected at 33 percent.Source: Accenture, http://www.accenture.com
- Frederick County is in the top quartile of Maryland counties for health status and health care access. Source: 2010 Primary Care Needs Assessment: Primary Care Office, Office of Health Care Policy and Planning, Family Health Administration, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, October 28, 2011
- Physicians claim that their expenses over the past 11 years have doubled and the cost of living during this time period went up 30 percent. Meanwhile, payment from Medicare and most other insurers has gone up very little – 5 percent in 10 years.Source: David N. Gans, MSHA, FACMPE, senior fellow for Industry Affairs, Medical Group Management Associates
- Between 2008 and 2012, physicians’ average number of work hours decreased by 5.9 percent (from 57 hours to 53 hours). Doctors saw 16.6 percent fewer patients during that time period. If this trend continues into 2016, it would equate to a loss of 44,250 full-time doctors.Source: Reported conducted by the doctor-recruiting firm Merritt Hawkins & Associates for the Physicians Foundation
A local infrastructure technology company is power driven to build more – and better – charging stations, but can it help flip the switch from gas guzzlers to all-electric vehicles?
By Adrienne Lawrence
Photos by Mary Kate McKenna
“All you have to do to turn it on is step on the brake,” explains Malia Kaiser, president of meritCharge and Merit Builders, Inc., in Frederick County. Kaiser drove her Tesla Model S and Tesla Roadster recently to show me what it is like to operate electric vehicles, or “EVs.”
It’s strange not to hear an engine humming when a car is turned on. Often, electric cars don’t make much noise when driven, except for the sound of the tires on the road. Really, the only way to know for certain if the Model S is running is to check the dashboard and look for a simple phrase, “Car On” or “Car Off.”
“You have to be super aware of pedestrians, dogs and bicyclists because they cannot hear you,” advises Kaiser, who also lives in Frederick County. “I’ve scared the bejeezus out of some people because everyone is conditioned to listen for a motor.”
The trick is to pump up the volume. “I will roll down the window and turn up the music so they’ll hear me coming,” she says.
That’s not the only thing that makes electric car owners hyper aware of their vehicles. They also tend to know the ins and outs of how to best track down a charging station. It’s actually easier to charge an all electric or hybrid vehicle in Frederick than one might imagine. Several public charging locations are located in the county, including two at a Mount Airy winery.
In addition, some area residents have installed charging stations at their homes, and with that ready power most are able to get around without charging their EVs at other locations. The average driver usually travel less than 50 miles a day and several of the all-electric vehicle models will go farther than that after just one charge. The Nissan Leaf, for example, offers about 100 miles and the Ford Focus Electric can go 110 miles after one full charge. On the luxury end, Tesla’s Model S runs about 265 miles once charged.
However, one fact remains: You can easily find more places around here to gas up than plug in, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. meritCharge is positioning itself to build commercial chargers, according to Kaiser and David Gochenaur, chief operating officer of the infrastructure technology company that is at the forefront of the EV industry.
meritCharge’s prototypes are designed for commercial fleets, public charging stations and, eventually, residential use. But charging stations weren’t initially on the minds of Kaiser and Gochenaur. It all began with their other business, Merit Builders, Inc., a steel construction company which both own and operate. Gochenaur saw a “tremendous need for infrastructure” to support future EV charging stations. At first, the company didn’t engineer the chargers, just the metal canopies erected to house all of the equipment. These units are similar to what you would find at most gas stations — they’re the large structures that shelter the fuel pumps.
When Merit’s staff began working with other companies that developed chargers, they found the equipment didn’t live up to their standards of quality. So Frederick resident Jared Starin engineered meritCharge’s design from scratch. “Engineered by Google,” he says with a chuckle. With an electrical and computer engineering degree from Virginia Military Institute, Starin had the technical knowledge, but he says he didn’t have much experience with charging stations since the electric car industry is in its infancy.
Currently, meritCharge offers three types of stations. The largest version keeps the power cords on retractable reels that hang from the steel canopy, a setup best suited for a fleet of EVs. Then there are stainless steel docking stations, consisting of free-standing kiosks or ones suspended from a pole in the canopy. The kiosks accept all major credit cards and Wright Express cards (used primarily by commercial and government fleets).
Familiarity was one of the most important aspects meritCharge sought in its design for the charging stations. Starin, Kaiser and Gochenaur wanted the chargers to feel familiar to the average customer who drives up to charge his or her vehicle. With that in mind, the kiosks have processing screens similar to one found on gas pumps.
A single kiosk costs $9,200 while a canopy with eight chargers and solar panels installed on the roof runs about $250,000. The solar panels can help offset the amount of electricity needed to power the chargers, but they are unlikely to provide enough electricity for all eight chargers simultaneously.
Almost all of their prototypes are ready for production — the trio is currently developing an athome charger — and meritCharge is seeking financial partners during this crucial time in the industry. It’s make or break for many charging developers.
“Now we’re going to find out who are the real players,” says Gochenaur. “We are looking to position ourselves so we’re one of the few who are ahead of the game.”
In his 2011 State of the Union speech, U.S. President Barack Obama called for 1 million all-electric cars on the nation’s roads by 2015, but the numbers aren’t adding up. Although sales continue to rise annually, so far, Americans have bought just 71,000 hybrids and all-electric plug-in vehicles in the past two years, The New York Times reported in January. And according to a CBS News projection last June, given those current sales levels, it looks like there will be only about 310,000 electric vehicles silently cruising our streets by the president’s 2015 goal.
Convenience and speed of recharging contribute to consumer reluctance to swap petrol power for battery packs, but the real roadblock is the sticker shock EVs giv shoppers. The price tag ranges between $30,000 and $40,000. Even with a $7,500 tax credit, they can be more costly than their traditional gas-powered competitors that now have more fuel-efficient internal combustion engines. At a base price of $28,800, the Nissan Leaf costs as much as a fully loaded midsize sedan before the tax credit. The Tesla Model S is the only luxury electric vehicle now on the market starting at $57,400; with additional options, however, it can quickly go north of $85,000. Yet the Tesla delivers in performance as the fastest EV with the longest mileage range.
Maryland’s EV Power Couple
Price concerns didn’t put the brakes on Novia Campbell and Jonathan Slade when the married couple suddenly bought a 2012 Nissan Leaf last year. Campbell, a registered nurse, and Slade, an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker who teaches at McDaniel College in Westminster, live in Lineboro, a rural Carroll County town just south of the Mason-Dixon Line. When Slade saw the popular model was available for a test drive, the couple went window-shopping. Just as they were heading home, Slade got a call: A dealer had one in stock, and if they wanted it, they needed to jump on the opportunity.
“We did all the paperwork and in a day and a half, we had an electric car,” Slade says, with a laugh. “I’m driving it home thinking, ‘Oh my God, what have I just done?’”
“No, I remember thinking, ‘What have you done?’ We have no way to charge [other] than the 20-hour option,” Campbell chimes in. “There’s a charging station that’s within easy walking distance from the college where he works, but there wasn’t one here at home.”
They soon worked out the kinks and Slade then started to dream. He cooked up a plan for them to drive across Maryland, from west to east, that summer. But was it possible? There aren’t any public charging stations in the state west of Hagerstown and there are very few once you drive closer to the shore. Thankfully, they made it, but just by the skin of their teeth. It took Campbell and Slade five days to drive across the state, and they were worried that they might not make it when they were nearing the end.
“It was part vacation, part experiment and part documentary shoot,” Slade recalls. “There was so much going on. We had four cameras on the car and we had to make sure we could get from one charging station to the next.”
So far, the Leaf has been the right choice for them. It’s not great for every trip (they travel at least once a year and love road trips): There simply aren’t enough charging stations available to travel long distances, but it’s been perfect for the work commute. “There’s a whole electric car subculture that we did not know existed and had no idea what we were going to step into in April 2012,” Slade says. “It’s been a constant learning experience for the last year. We now have almost 15,000 miles on this car and it’s totally doable.”
Changing the Current Outlook
Anthony Aellen, president and winemaker for Linganore Winecellars at Berrywine Plantation, sees couples like Campbell and Slade as a key part of bringing electric cars to the mainstream. “We need early adopters,” he says but points out that electric cars won’t be what people consider an everyday kind of car until it becomes part of a generation’s life, the way recycling is for his children who are 20 and 21 years old. “They’ve never known anything but to recycle; it’s part of their everyday life. So, they recycle,” he adds.
After an inspiring trip to Italy, where he saw electric car drivers hook up their vehicles to charging stations on the street, he spent about five years looking for a way to bring electric charging stations to his business near Mount Airy. He discovered a program in Baltimore that was making 100 chargers available to the market, and he got the last two. The chargers are completely powered by a large solar panel that also generates electricity for the winery.
Linganore Winecellars received some federal funding, about $8,750 from the Rural Energy Assistance Program, to help offset the purchase and installation costs of the 5 kilowatt chargers and solar array. Another government grant in the amount of $11,625 helped pay for a study to determine what type of alternative energy or combination could best reduce the vineyard’s electricity usage. Those funds cover almost half of the renewable energy project’s total estimated $50,000 cost, Aellen says.
Obtaining the chargers isn’t all that out of the ordinary for Linganore Winecellars, he notes. The company has sought various ways to reduce, reuse and recycle for decades. He’s also looked for methods to use wind energy and possibly run the entire winery on solar energy.
In 1999, when BP Amoco bought Solarex, Aellen investigated that energy source but found that buying enough panels to power the entire winery wasn’t feasible. For the panels to supplement just 30 percent of the energ needed for a year, it would have cost $800,000. If Aellen knew where to buy the same number of panels now he’d spend only about $250,000. It’s still a lot of money, but that’s a huge price drop from 14 years ago.
In time, the technology is expected to become more efficient and less costly, and that fits with Gochenaur’s perception that the market will take off in about three years. “The industry is in its infancy,” he says.
And we’re unlikely to see an electric taxi in Frederick anytime soon. EV Taxicabs wanted to start an all electric vehicle taxi fleet in Arlington, Virginia. However, in December 2012, authorities there denied permission for the 40 new licenses the startup needed. They cited worries about too few charging stations — which the company stated it would install around the area for public use also — and concerns about whether the available technology would still be the right choice in the near future.
The key, Gochenaur says, is having affordable cars with more driving range than what can currently be found on the market. “Frederick would be a challenge, but with a 200-mile range, it’s more likely” that we could see electric taxis, he says. Frederick County Commissioner Blaine Young, who owns Yellow Cab of Frederick, couldn’t be reached for comment.
In 2011, Gov. Martin O’Malley proposed, and the Maryland General Assembly approved, the creation of the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council under the Department of Transportation to plan the successful integration of electric vehicles into the state’s communities and transportation system. Last December, the council issued a 204-page report establishing an action plan and making recommendations to achieve the overall goal of bringing 60,000 EVs to Maryland roadways by 2020.
One of the council’s acts has been to propose legislation extending the income tax credit and state excise credit for one more year. The excise credit provides car buyers with an immediate credit on the purchase price of a qualifying EV. “They see the cost of a new vehicle being the main barrier to adoption,” says
Kristen Weiss, state legislative analyst for the Maryland Department of Transportation.
In addition to incentive programs, the council has made recommendations for funding and development of infrastructure to support EVs, educational and outreach efforts, policies to help coordinate consistent state and local guidelines on EVs, and target levels for increasing the number of zero-emissions vehicles in the state’s fleet. The council is hoping to continue its work beyond the June 2013 expiration date.
It remains to be seen whether local residents witness more of these green machines quietly cruising around the town and county next year or a decade from now, but meritCharge is ready to bring the juice to the EV industry today.
Where to Make Powerful Connections
Frederick County is home to at least five different places where electric car owners can charge up their vehicles. Locations include Frederick Community College (those can be tough to find, but they are there), Fort Detrick, the Frederick Nissan dealership, Marriott TownePlace Suites and Linganore Winecellars in Mount Airy.
Most of the charging stations are free, but Fort Detrick requires a credit card to cover a fee of 50 cents per hour. There are also dozens of charging stations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., enabling anyone to get home easily if the individual has enough power for the 50-mile drive back to Frederick.
Searching for a charging station near you? Several cell phone apps are available. Novia Campbell and Jonathan Slade, a married couple who drove from west to east across Maryland in their allelectric vehicle, recommend PlugShare. Android and iPhone users can search for public and some privately-owned electric chargers. Campbell and Slade have their home charger listed on PlugShare’s app in case someone in their remote part of the state needs to charge a vehicle.
Here are some more facts and figures about charging levels and charging speeds for EVs. Plus, get the shocking facts on electric vehicles.
Graduation ’13 by the Numbers
Compiled by Kim Weaver
Graduations are soon to commence in Frederick County, but there’s still some time to get educated on the subject of the Class of 2013. To bring you the sheepskin statistics without a lot of pomp and circumstance, we’ve already done the ’riting and ’rithmetic, so all you have to do is the reading. —The Editor
Download the full infographic poster as a PDF!
- 94.69% graduation rate for females in Frederick County Public Schools (2012)
- 90.99% graduation rate for males in Frederick County Public Schools (2012)
- 10 high schools in Frederick County
Average cost of a basic, “no frills” class ring
- $270 for a female high school ring
- $278 for a male high school ring
- $243 for a female college ring
- $266 for a male college ring
- $40-60 price range of mortarboard cap, gown and tassel for local high school seniors (cost depends on vendor and high school)
- $19.99 cost of mortarboard cap, gown and tassel at www.gradshop.com
- 10.26% high school dropout rate (2012);
- 83.57% high school graduation rate (2012); >0.75% from 2011
General studies is the most popular major for Frederick Community College graduates.
- 2 hours average length of college graduation ceremony
- 15 minutes average length of college graduation speakers’ keynote address
$24,000 the average college student loan debt in 2012
1,009 number of graduation candidates from Frederick Community College (2013)
Half of student loan accounts are in deferred status because more than half of college graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed
- $7,993 average public, four-year undergraduate, in-state published tuition and fees for fiscal year 2011-2012; 3.3% increase over fiscal year 201-2011
- $34,269 average public, nonprofit, four-year graduate, in-state published tuition and fees for fiscal year 2011-2012; 4.3% increase over fiscal year 2010-2011
- Balfour CNN Money
- Economic Policy Institute
- Frederick Community College
- Frederick County Public Schools
- Herff Jones
- Hood College
- Institute for College Access and Success
- Maryland State Department of Education
- Mount St. Mary’s University
- National Association of Colleges & Employers
- The College Board
- The Washington Post
- U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics
- U.S. Census Bureau
- USA Today
A stalker’s relentless campaign of threats, harrassment and assault causes a victim to lose faith in the justice system – and herself.
By G.M. Corrigan
Illustrations by Bonnie Schilling
“It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears.” Justice Louis D. Brandeis
The threats — persistent, profane and chilling — were always delivered impersonally. For more than a year they kept coming via telephone, text or messenger, without taking shape or signaling any immediate danger to 19 year-old Lauren Griffee. Then, when she least expected it, early one August morning in 2002, the words materialized into something more menacing. The former Governor Thomas Johnson High School soccer star and Francis Marion University sports scholarship student was enjoying a final summer blowout party with friends at an Ijamsville home three weeks before commencing her sophomore year. She was looking forward to winning further glory on the field when her stalker showed up with two accomplices, spoiling for a fight — and armed with a blade.
“I had never heard of the girl — never even knew her name or saw her face,” Griffee, now 29, remarks about her assailant. “I knew nothing about her. I knew her younger sister, though. She was two years younger. I was a senior; she was a sophomore.”
And that, it turned out, was the rub which got Griffee stabbed 17 times that carefree night as 200 people watched aghast. Her collegiate and athletic hopes were dashed as she was saddled with an off-field ordeal that wouldn’t take a time-out: post-traumatic stress from the stalking (pre- and post-attack!), the knifing and a verdict that gave her assailant only a nine-month jail sentence and a bed in the county’s work-release program shortly after incarceration.
“It eats at you,” the Frederick native and current downtown bartender says of the outcome and of her assailant’s perceived gaming of the justice and welfare systems. “It made me lose all faith in the justice system. After being in jail for a week, they let her out on work release — at Xhale, the nightclub at the time. She was a felon … for stabbing someone, and was out working at a nightclub.”
A Tale of High School Trauma
Griffee, a mother of a new baby boy, sought to treat her trauma by publicly speaking about her past nightmare, which surprisingly received little press coverage. More than a decade later, she now recounts it: 18 months before the incident, the little sister of her assailant had “hooked up” with Griffee’s “Mr. High School Basketball-Football-Track star” boyfriend while Griffee was away on a soccer trip. “Brokenhearted andm upset,” she and two friends confronted the girl during a joint gym class. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t threatening, because I was,” admitted Griffee, whose residual strong looks hint of the formidable midfielder she was in her youth. “But nothing violent happened until the stabbing. So, she told me everything … and, of course, she went home and cried to her sister.”
This older sister, Griffee says, was her age, already a single mother of a 4-year-old and a “troubled teen” who hung with a rough crowd and liked to fight. Before Griffee left for college, she heard that Big Sis was looking for her — and then the threats followed her to the Florence, South Carolina campus.
The calls returned home with Griffee over summer break, and they suddenly appeared in physical shape at the party in the form of a gate-crashing trio of toughs and a “6-inch folding knife.” Police later recovered the weapon, which was found hidden above a bathroom ceiling tile in a Baltimore hospital where Big Sis apparently sought treatment.
“[Big Sis] came there to fight Lauren,” attests Gina Cebula, longtime Griffee friend and witness to the fight. She says the fight took place on the front lawn of an Ijamsville home. Griffee attempted to leave the scene, trying to avoid the confrontation. “She [Big Sis] was the aggressor.”
According to Griffee, Big Sis held intervening onlookers at bay with threats of gun violence and then, wielding a bottle, was first to attack — but was quickly disarmed. Little Sis and her friend then jumped in, and while Griffee was dispatching them (“I beat the living pulp out of her little sister”), she vaguely sensed Big Sis doing something at her back.
“You’d think you’d feel being stabbed 17 times,” Griffee, who was no stranger to on-field tussles, says of the knife thrusts to her neck, leg and torso. “But I didn’t feel one stab wound. When you’re attacked by three girls out of nowhere, your adrenaline is going.”
Big Sis eventually joined the fistfight, but was flipped, beaten and fled the scene with cohorts when the wounds began to show, notes Griffee. A bystander was also knifed.
“I think it hit me when I stood up — all the blood I had lost,” Griffee reflects on the aftermath. “My entire outfit was covered in blood. My thumb was hanging. Do I regret it? Of course, but the whole time we were fighting, there are 200-some people in a circle screaming and going crazy. When I got to Shock Trauma [the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore], they said it looked like a shark attack.”
Released the next day, Griffee was told it would be months before she would walk again. She remained in recuperation at home that winter, despondent to see Big Sis finally arrested three weeks after the crime, then released on bond the same day and not sentenced until October 8, 2003. Minutes before the scheduled July 30, 2003 jury trial was to begin, the state prosecutor told the astonished victim the first-degree assault charge had been dropped — and there would be no trial!
Big Sis had copped to only second-degree assault and later got a five-year sentence — all but nine months suspended, plus work release, despite Kathleen Griffee’s, Lauren’s mother, written statements to the judge about continued threats against her daughter.
“And then they allowed this girl to work at Xhale,” fumes Griffee’s mother. “I mean, this was her dream job. It’s absolutely horrible. I have no faith in our justice system …. It’s affected Lauren’s self confidence, her self-esteem.” Having lost her scholarship due to her injuries and long convalescence, Griffee never returned to college.
From Texts to Torture
And when Big Sis got out of jail — without serving the full nine months — the stalking and harassment resumed. “She showed up at my job; she showed up at the school I attended,” Griffee recalls. “We reported the threats to the police like a million times [to little effect]. I knew I could always take care of myself, but when it comes to guns and knives … and someone that extreme … I mean, it made me very reclusive; I didn’t want to go anywhere. I didn’t want to do anything.”
Finally, Griffee left Frederick in an attempt to escape the relentless campaign of terror and start life over. Yet the text message threats soon dogged the young woman to her new residence in Georgia. After a year, in 2005, she came home to Frederick to live with her mother. The once self-assured athlete and hard-charging defensive soccer player began avoiding places she might meet her stalker.
A culmination of sorts came one night in March 2009, when Griffee finally decided to go out with her visiting sister. As fate would have it, she ran into her nemesis and three male friends coming into the Olde Towne Tavern, a location Griffee and her sister were leaving. The males followed the sisters down Market Street, taunting and cursing all the way, Griffee says. When they stopped at the street corner in front of the Tasting Room, one of the men grabbed Griffee’s sister between the legs. When Griffee reacted, his companion threw her through the restaurant’s large plate glass window, reintroducing her to the physical agony and psychological pain of puncture wounds.
The assailant, a 6-foot, 170-pound male, was run down by a bystander and turned over to police. He received probation, community service and demands to pay for the window — but no jail time. Griffee got medical attention, more psychological trauma and a hair-trigger temperament that led her into further defensive scrapes with the law and a checkered employment profile.
This new mom, however, is now upbeat and insisted on telling her story despite counsel to the contrary. “I’m not worried anymore because I have two policemen friends who said they’re on speed dial, if I ever need them — that she will be handled this time,” Griffee notes.
Then again, Griffee may also feel fortified against the sickness that has stalked her because she agrees with Justice Louis D. Brandeis who wrote in his essay, “What Publicity Can Do,” about sunlight being the best of disinfectants.
What’s Wrong With This Legal Picture?
The Griffee stalker case invites some head scratching over the age-old question of crime and punishment. G.M. Corrigan breaks down the controversies and discusses relevant findings about the case. Visit the Web Exclusives section of www.frederickgorilla.com to read more and share your reactions to this story.
In Frederick’s new Age of the Entrepreneur, “small business” defines the size of the workforce but not success.
By Christina L. Lyons
Photography by Andrew Murdock
Before Sean O’Keefe graduated from law school in 2009, he was among millions of young people across the U.S. worried about their future. The nation was two years into a recession, and O’Keefe’s earlier plans to enter real estate law and join Frederick County’s development boom seemed, well, unrealistic. “There was almost no hiring” of lawyers nationally and in Frederick, he laments.
Two years earlier, Timika and Gregory Thrasher of Frederick were just starting a family and working long hours at full-time jobs but insisting on keeping their home spotless and allergy free. Friends teased them that they could run their own cleaning business and make a fortune.
Meanwhile, Middletown native Erik Boettcher was an Army corporal deployed overseas, constantly spinning potential inventions through his mind, hoping they might somehow lead him to a successful business startup.
An Enterprising Environment?
Since the beginning of the economic decline in 2007, lawmakers and economists have sought ways to encourage individuals like O’Keefe, the Thrashers and Boettcher to revive small business as the “backbone of America.” Once a thriving town of “tanning and canning,” Frederick itself has seen the success of independent, family-owned businesses ebb and flow with the nation’s fortunes over the centuries. Local business and real estate struggled following the Civil War, during the Great Depression and coinciding with the arrival of two shopping malls in the 1970s — with periods of rebound in between.
In recent years, the recession and grim job market have led long-term professionals to consider independently marketing their skills locally, while younger generations view self-employment as a more secure foothold in the wake of the scandalous demise of the multibillion-dollar Enron Corporation, collapse of the banking and housing industries, and the federal bailout of AIG. “As people see corporations are not distributing their profits equitably, more and more will say we want to be in charge of our own destiny,” says Francesca Contento, president of the Alliance of Small Businesses, a membership organization focused on networking support for small businesses in the county.
It’s hard to determine which way the trend is going locally for startups and how it compares to national studies that show an overall drop in the number of small businesses between 2008 and 2010. Beth Woodring, senior consultant with the Small Business and Technology Development Center in Frederick, says collecting exact numbers is difficult, but her analysis of U.S. Census data shows a 2.1 percent drop during that time period. “There is no way to determine how that shift occurred, however, so I would be reticent to say it indicates a particular trend,” she warns. The Frederick County Chamber of Commerce would like to say the trend is going the other way, as its members have increased from 760 to 1,050 since May 2010, with 84 percent of them representing small businesses.
Many factors have converged to make the timing — and the place — right for enterprising individuals in this area. City and county planners have long promoted the Frederick area for its ideal location at the interchange of three major highways and the driving distance from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Decades ago, they sought to alter its “bedroom community” reputation, and in the past 20 to 30 years, an increasing number of people have opened shop (some have closed and were replaced by others) downtown.
Ask longtime downtown business owners about the reason for their success, and they will point first to the Carroll Creek project that commenced after a 1976 flood washed through 100 acres of downtown and sent businesses fleeing. Early stages of the effort included burying power lines; executing a $65-million flood-control project (one that began in the 1980s); relocating the courthouse, city hall and the Weinberg Center for the Arts; paving areas along the creek and luring in unique restaurants and independent retailers. The project’s conception drew controversy due to its size, cost and — according to some opponents — the potential to destroy the beauty of the downtown area. But city officials plowed forward.
“When you look at Frederick you are looking at a place where the overall health and quality of the downtown has improved dramatically over the last 30 years,” says Cindy Powell, who started Needles & Pins 20 years ago. Her shop’s establishment followed the investment of Bert Anderson, a native Texan who arrived in Frederick more than 40 years ago and subsequently developed Shab Row and Everedy Square on East Street.
Local lawmakers also have invested in such growth industries as biotechnology and other advanced technologies. Government spending in the region makes contracting business possible and provides some insulation from the economic downturn (however, watch out for those looming federal budget cuts). With the expansion of Fort Detrick and its resident National Cancer Institute labs, as well as Frederick Community College, “a lot of trends are coming together,” says Ed Robinson, a New York native who is president of the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County and founder of the management consulting business Capacity Building Solutions, Inc.
Robinson says it was “mostly a quality of life move” when he settled both his home and his business in Frederick by 2005 with the goal of doing 50 of his business withi 30 minutes of his front door. He recognizes many people make such a choice “once they get to a certain age and have kids … I don’t know if it’s a yearning or an interest in small-town America.”
Population and Performance
Consider the population spike. The 2010 U.S. Census showed 233,385 residents in the county, an increase of 19.5 percent since 2000 (195,277 residents) and 55 percent since 1990 (150,208 residents). The state projects a population increase to 339,700 residents by 2030. Industry and government spending, improved schools and lower housing prices spurred this growth.
In fact, many small business owners are relative newcomers to Frederick, with some originating from as far away as California and Texas. And they, alongside some native residents, are creating a hotbed of entrepreneurship that includes artisans, technical experts, inventors, communication specialists, service specialists, nonprofit enthusiast and various other professionals.
Some welcome the change; other longtimers resent it. During the 19th century and in later decades, some residents frequently discouraged plans that might attract newcomers and disrupt their quiet neighborhoods. Several times, they even rejected the establishment of a rail line through downtown Frederick, but finally conceded.
“Communities, just like organizations, need an influx of new blood to keep things going, to inject new energy,” Robinson says. “It’s natural for generations to have difficulty letting things go — to resist change — when they have people coming in like myself who made the move here totally for the quality of life and the possibilities here.” But, he insists, “That balancing act of keeping Frederick something special and introducing the new is really being managed nicely here.”
But what about O’Keefe, the Thrashers and Boettcher?
O’Keefe found a way to blend in. Facing the grim job market in 2009, he set out on his own, walking the main street of his native Middletown until he found a suitable place he could afford to rent and hang a sign a quaint house with white siding and green shutters and trim where (perhaps by chance?) a real estate business also resided. O’Keefe Legal Services, LLC offers something he discerned was scarce in the region and presented potential for stability: wills, trust and estate planning. He got his first customer from his church before he had even set up his office.
The Thrashers’ “green cleaning” company was just showing signs of success in 2009 — with two years under its belt. Timika and Gregory continued to maintain their full-time jobs at Potomac Edison and a local mortgage company while caring for their 15-month-old baby. However, the couple followed their friends’ advice that local businesses would hire office cleaners who use environmentally-friendly solutions. The two filled the garage of their Frederick home with supplies and diligently worked nights and weekends while relatives watched the baby and, later, two more children. Thrashers Cleaning Service now has 20 accounts and about a dozen staff members. Timika — who spent her early childhood in New York — sees the real and near possibility of focusing full time on the business.
Boettcher, who now holds the rank of sergeant and lives in Urbana, hopes to find customers among th growing Frederick population — and ideally well beyond the county’s borders — for his invention, Neubrew, a tea cup that permits steeping with no mess, burns or spills. The father of three young boys (ages 5 and younger) is married to a Texan he met during his deployment in Germany; Boettcher is currently awaiting his full patent. In the interim, he has launched a “crowd funding” website with plans to unveil hi product locally this summer. He envisions turning a healthy profit by the time he retires from the service in three years.
How to Succeed in Small Business
One of the biggest challenges to starting a new business is not just determining whether you can succeed but how. Despite the high-profile debates among federal and local lawmakers about new or potential incentives to make success more likely, there’s obviously no guarantee, but Frederick is full of entrepreneurs who have made their business dream a working reality.
Beth Schillaci, president and founder of VillageWorks Communications Inc., learned the basics of Internet technology at a startup acquired by Netscape. After she and her husband made Frederick home 15 years ago, she launched a business out of their basement, initially building websites for businesses and expanding her services as technology advanced. She now brands herself as a social media-marketing specialist for small businesses and “solopreneurs.” Over time she has both expanded and contracted the size of her company.
“When I started my business, I was led to believe that I needed to appear larger than I was or people wouldn’t take me seriously,” she states in her blog. Schillaci began to hire employees, but as they decided to move on and she tired of the distractions of management, she decided to return to her passion: helping small businesses. Now she uses contractors as needed and a membership at Cowork Frederick for office space explaining, “It’s time to embrace our smallness.”
But Schillaci warns: “As a small business, you are not necessarily going to go make a lot of money. It’s that lifestyle decision you make … that you want to have the flexibility to get your daughter on the bus … that you get to choose the 80 hours a week you work.”
Powell’s niche business, focused on a craft that has waxed and waned with technological and demographical changes, faces her own challenges keeping clientele walking through her quilting store’s doors. “You have to be willing to make the commitment. It is 24-7. You never stop thinking about it. You never stop worrying about it,” she says. “If you’re willing to commit to trying to make it long term … you need partners who are willing to work with you.” And she says you have to be willing to put your own money back into the business.
As a former full-time executive director of The Community Foundation of Frederick County, Powell also feels strongly about being engaged in the community. She runs community service projects such as a collections for Advocates for the Homeless families and donation of quilts to the police department to provide to babies and children.
Robinson, in his role as president of the Entrepreneur Council of Frederick County, says “first-time entrepreneurs have a naive view of entrepreneurship … Once they taste it, they don’t want to eat the meal for too long.” Typically, they drop their venture after five years, having gotten in too far by hiring too many employees, or simply dropping the struggle. He states on his website blog: “I am a firm believer in persistence and determination. Many people give up just before things are about to break their way. However, it never makes sense to go off a cliff simply because it is there.”
Address for Success
Although today’s technology helps you to escape the confines of the office cubicle and set up your own shop at home, sometimes that basement corner or small extra bedroom-turned-office can feel a little lonely or isolated, leaving you craving that water cooler conversation. And while the neighborhood coffeehouse may offer a stimulating atmosphere, not everyone who stops in for a mocha grande is there to focus on the daily grind. So where can you go for the flexibility and freedom of working in your own office while being able to interact with colleagues in a professional environment?
A growing network of collaborative work spaces in Frederick County — and across the nation — provide the self-employed, the small business owner, the starving artist and the remote worker an avenue for networking, advice, low-expense office amenities or traditional professional veneer. Each of the owners of these entities knows their space fits the need of a specific type of worker or business, and they often refer potential clients to one another (so don’t feel slighted if you visit one and are redirected).
Cowork Frederick opened in September 2012 in a refurbished old house downtown at 122 E. Patrick St. Its hardwood floors, front parlor room with fireplace, back kitchen with windows and patio lend a homey feel. Upstairs, you find a large, window-lit conference room equipped with modern conveniences like a projector and speakerphone. Down the hall are private phone rooms and individual offices. Yes, there are bathrooms where you can even shower after biking in to work.
Glen and Julia Ferguson, who relocated to Frederick a few years ago, modeled the idea after a concept initiated by software engineer and developer Bryan Neuberg in San Francisco. They sought to use recycled and earth-friendly materials while mixing the historic look with a “cool eclectic feel.”
You can join for an hour or two to test it out, or you can come one to five days a month to meet with clients or hold classes. There are also part- or full-time options for those seeking a more regular office base. Membership allows you to use any room (with an agreement to clean your own dishes). The free-flowing use of space, the Fergusons and its founding members combine to provide a sense of community and permit a spontaneous exchange of ideas and expertise.
At Cowork, you’ll find social media specialists, a product developer, a writer, software coder, an architect and a World Bank employee, among others. And, at various times, you may see the work of local artists around the building (the Fergusons offer them a place to showcase their work for free). “It’s not so much the place. It’s the people,” notes Glen. There are pros and cons to that statement; while collaboration is welcome, consideration of others’ work and time also is encouraged. “You have to be comfortable. But you also have to be able to get things done.”
The Business Factory of Frederick is located in a vacated factory building at 801 N. East St., Suite 6-A, near 8th Street in Frederick. It houses several offices near the front reception area; in the back, behind a wide open space with foundation floor and an unfinished, high ceiling, memories of the town’s industrial past echo in the space. This is where General Manager Peggy Richman, who opened the facility at the start of 2013, envisions artists’ workspaces and shows. Meeting rooms, classrooms, kitchen and a storage area are also present. Richman patterned the Business Factory in part on designs of collaborative workspaces at Affinity Lab in Washington, D.C. She aims for a local flavor with a heavy emphasis on nonprofits, artists and decorated spaces with locally refurbished items, such as a chicken feeding tray that serves as a business card holder. Richman offers a range of membership options, but she insists on collaboration and camaraderie among members. Potential clients not only interview her, but she interviews them and gauges whether they will fit into the mix and be willing to support nonprofit causes. “I want to know if you are willing to engage and be part of this community,” she explains.
Kenneth and Lisa Engelke, who recently launched Strategic Ecosystems, provide on-site IT support. Thrashers Cleaning Solutions uses the space to store its cleaning supplies and conduct employee trainings, while also providing cleaning services for the Business Factory.
Regus is a multinational corporation that created its own office space in Westview Village on Buckeystown Pike, just off I-270. It offers the modern feel of a professional corporation complete with receptionists, private offices for one to three workers, a shared conference room and kitchen.
You don’t even have to clean your own coffee cup! Team leader Julie Bain Miller (who hails from Colorado) ensures that she and her assistants meet your every need. Want your phone calls answered in such a manner that clients think they are calling a large business, rather than a cell phone that rings in your living room with the echoes of the television or children fighting? No problem. “If you want a corporate image and have someone walk in and say, ‘Wow!’ — we fill that image,” Miller says.
Regus operates five other locations in Maryland with sights on four more. Frederick was an ideal location, she states, because of Fort Detrick, government contractors and various other businesses in the county. Regus opened the Frederick location in September 2012, and within five months, its 42-office facility was half full.
Whether you rent an office for three months or three years, you gain access to space not only in Frederick, but in any of the centers around the world. Or, the space can simply serve as your professional business address while you operate out of your home. Miller will even have business cards made for you.
The Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. at 401 Rosemont Ave. in Frederick, opened in 2004 as an incubator to help encourage and support innovators across the county. And, in other ways, businesses are becoming more intertwined with one another. Members of the groups listed above — as well as their hosts — also are members of, or work with, the Frederick County Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Frederick Partnership, SCORE and the Entrepreneur Support Network (which itself offers leads to a variety of other networks and partnerships) and many other avenues for doing business.
Don’t want, or can’t afford, to pay to join any of these? In 2011, Francesca Contento started the Alliance of Small Businesses, a place where approximately 30 members have started to learn about resources in the county and state, exchange ideas and frustrations, and study examples from business leaders in the area. Contento, a former employee a Freddie Mac who operates an independent student exchange service, hopes to find other ways to help them succeed. “I’m trying to focus on small business. Many are at-home folks who can’t afford a pricey membership to a partnership or make weekly commitments,” she says.
Learn more about some enterprising entrepreneurs in the community.
Admit it, with or without representation, taxation sucks either way. But like his partner in certainty, The Grim Reaper, the Taxman cometh. We made our own assessment of how taxing life is here in Frederick County and offer these fiscal cliff notes as a little relief from your preparation to render unto Caesar what is his on April 15. Many happy returns!
Compiled by Kim Weaver
233,385 Frederick County
72,111 City of Frederick
$471.2 million adopted operating budget, FY2013, Frederick County
Estimated percent of county budget supported by taxes/estimated revenue from taxes
48% property taxes ($227,042,627)
36% local income taxes ($171,226,300)
4% other local taxes ($17,407,869)
93,332 tax bills issued to date for FY2013, Frederick County
$2,398 average real estate tax bill for residential properties, FY2013, Frederick County
$0.936 property tax rate (per $100 of assessed value), FY 2013, Frederick County
$0.813 property tax rate (per $100 of assessed value), FY 2013, City of Frederick
9 businesses in Frederick County that have received a tax credit or incentive for FY 2013; 9,000+ businesses in Frederick County
$554 million State of Maryland spends per year on tax credits and incentives; $96 per capita, $0.04 per dollar of state budget
8.25% corporate income tax, 2012, State of Maryland
$81,436 median household income, Frederick County
$66,161 median household income, City of Frederick
2.96% personal income tax rate, 2012, Frederick County
2.0% – 5.75% personal income tax rate, 2012, State of Maryland
48% marginal tax rate on each dollar the average Marylander earns in 2013; combination of payroll, state and federal taxes
23 days in April 2012 when Maryland taxpayers finally had earned enough money to pay off their total tax bill for the year
31 CPA firms in Frederick County
Board of Public Accountancy, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
Comptroller of Maryland
Frederick County Business Development and Retention Division
Frederick County Department of Treasury
Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute
Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation
The Heritage Foundation
United States Census Bureau