Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Maryland Gov Proposes Increase for Bio 2020 Initiative

Maryland Budget Proposal Increases Support for State's Bio 2020 Initiative

From SSTI: In support of the state's goal to attract and grow biotechnology companies, Gov. Martin O'Malley's executive budget recommends increasing by $400,000 the state's investment in stem cell research, while maintaining current funding for biotechnology tax credits and slightly increasing the appropriation for the Nanotech Biotechnology Initiative Fund.

Announced last summer, Maryland's Bio 2020 Initiative is the state's plan to invest up to $1.3 billion over the next 10 years in Maryland's biotechnology industry (see the June 18, 2008 issue of the Digest). Gov. O'Malley recommends $18.4 million in FY10 for the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, which is administered by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). Although lawmakers approved $19 million for the fund in FY09, budget documents reflect $18 million in total funds were available. The program has funded a total 82 projects at Maryland research universities and private sector corporations since 2006. TEDCO would also receive $3.7 million ($600,000 less than last year) for technology development, transfer and commercialization through its University Development Transfer Fund and the Maryland Technology Transfer Fund.

Additional executive budget recommendations in support of the Bio 2020 Initiative include:

$6 million (the same as last fiscal year) for the Maryland Biotechnology Investment Tax Credit Reserve Fund, which provides tax credits to encourage investment in biotech firms;
$5 million for the Maryland Biotechnology Center within the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED) to showcase and support biotechnology innovation and entrepreneurship for the state; and
$1.6 million for the Nanotech Biotechnology Initiative Fund, up from $1.5 million in special funds available last year.
The capital budget includes $32.2 million for the Germantown Bioscience Center and $5 million for the East Baltimore Technology Park.

Gov. O'Malley recommends $58 million for DBED in FY10, down $11.5 million from FY09. Within the department, the governor proposes $2 million (the same as last year) for the Maryland Enterprise Investment Fund and Challenge Programs. No funding is included for the rural broadband assistance fund, which received $3.4 million in federal funds last year after lawmakers removed a $2 million general fund appropriation within the Division of Financing (see the April 23, 2008 issue of the Digest).

The governor's budget includes $16.9 million to continue a tuition freeze for a fourth consecutive year for in-state undergraduates at Maryland's four-year higher education institutions. Gov. O'Malley is expected to introduce legislation this session to reauthorize the Higher Education Investment Fund (HEIF), which expires at the end of FY09, according to budget documents. Created as a dedicated revenue stream for higher education in 2007, the HEIF dedicates a portion of the increase in corporate tax revenues to the fund.

Gov. Martin O'Malley's FY10 budget is available at:

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