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Google launches small-business program in Maryland

Internet giant Google is teaming up with states to provide businesses a free tool to launch their own website.

MarylandGetOnline.com includes training and resources for building websites, a customized domain name and web-hosting for one year, according to a statement from Gov. Martin O’Malley (D).

Business owners interested in the program are invited to its kickoff from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 17 at the Legg Mason Tower, 100 International Drive, Baltimore. Training sessions will include online business promotion.

According to the statement, 53 percent of Maryland’s small businesses don’t have a website or online presence, while 97 percent of Americans look online for local products and services.

“Getting every Maryland small business online is one more critical step we can take together to stay competitive and expand opportunity in this rapidly-changing, 21st century economy,” O’Malley said.

“The perception that getting online is complex, costly and time-consuming has prevented many Maryland small businesses from taking the first step,” said Scott Levitan, director of small-business engagement at Google, said in the statement.

Information: MarylandGetOnline.com

Behavioral health care providers merge

Two leading behavioral health care providers in Montgomery County have merged.

St. Luke’s House of North Bethesda and Threshold Services of Silver Spring, both nonprofits, have worked together for years, they said in a statement.

Craig Knoll, a former state delegate who was executive director of Threshold Services, is president and CEO of the new organization, temporarily called St. Luke’s House and Threshold Services United.

Randy Lyon, chairman of St. Luke’s, is chairman of the new organization.

St. Luke’s had revenues of $11.5 million in the year ended June 30, 2010, according to its most recent federal tax return, clearing $82,936 and ending the year with net assets of $4.8 million.

Threshold Services reported revenues of $6.2 million that year, losing $542,518 and ending the year with $2 million in net assets.

Business group gives thumbs up to more rural lawmakers

Two Turners — Frank S. of Columbia and Veronica L. of Camp Springs — were the most anti-business state lawmakers this year, according to Maryland Business for Responsive Government’s annual scorecard.

The Democratic delegates were the only legislators to score zero on the Towson group’s rankings that looked at how they voted on 10 Senate and 13 House measures. The issues ranged from combined income tax reporting for corporations to holding a special session, drilling for natural gas and raising the “flush tax” for improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.

The group was particularly opposed to spending and tax increases.

"There is no single, more important indicator for economic development in this State than the budget," Marvin Mandel, a Democratic former governor and co-chairman of the group, said in a statement.

"Maryland clearly has a spending problem; not an income problem,” said Ellen Sauerbrey, co-chairwoman of the organization, which has about 200 supporting companies and individuals.

Also scoring near the bottom with an 11 percent ranking were six senators, all Democrats, including four from Montgomery County: Jennie M. Forehand (Dist. 17) of Rockville, Brian E. Frosh (Dist. 16) of Chevy Chase, Richard S. Madaleno Jr. (Dist. 18) of Kensington and Roger P. Manno (Dist. 19) of Silver Spring, along with Lisa A. Gladden (Dist. 41) of Baltimore and Victor R. Ramirez (Dist. 47) of Cheverly. Almost all delegates from Montgomery, Prince George’s and Howard counties, all Democrats, scored below 20 percent.

The business group gave its highest scores to lawmakers from Harford and Cecil counties, plus Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

A dozen senators, all Republicans, had perfect scores: David R. Brinkley (Dist. 4) of New Market, Richard F. Colburn (Dist. 37) of Cambridge, George C. Edwards (Dist. 1) of Grantsville, Joseph M. Getty (Dist. 5) of Manchester, Barry Glassman (Dist. 35) of Churchville, Nancy Jacobs (Dist. 34) of Abingdon, J.B. Jennings (Dist. 7) of Joppa, Allan H. Kittleman (Dist. 9) of West Friendship, E.J. Pipkin (Dist. 36) of Elkton, Edward R. Reilly (Dist. 33) of Crofton, Christopher B. Shank (Dist. 2) of Hagerstown and Bryan W. Simonaire (Dist. 31) of Pasadena.

The rankings are online at mbrg.org.

Catalyst shareholders OK $5B acquisition

Shareholders of Catalyst Health Solutions of Rockville on Monday approved the pharmacy benefits management company’s $4.75 billion acquisition by SXC Health Solutions of Illinois.

Under the deal, which closed the same day, Catalyst stockholders receive $28 in cash without interest and 0.6606 of a share of SXC stock for each Catalyst share.