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Maryland Budget Maintains State Investment in Biotech

January 23, 2008

Funding for several TBED-focused initiatives aimed at increasing the state’s biotech portfolio is prominent in Gov. Martin O’Malley’s fiscal year 2009 budget proposal. Under the recommendation, stem cell research, biotechnology and nanotechnology are targeted for investments to grow the state’s economy, building on the actions of the 2007 legislative session (see the April 16, 2007 issue of the Digest).


Gov. O’Malley unveiled his FY09 budget last week, recommending $23 million for the Stem Cell Research Fund. The fund – in its second year of existence – supports stem cell R&D at Maryland research universities and private sector research institutions and is administered by the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). TEDCO is slated to receive $27.8 million in FY09 total funds – a slight decrease from the FY08 appropriation.


The governor’s recommendation for the Department of Business and Economic Development is $145.5 million, an increase of 17.7 percent above the FY08 appropriation. The recommendation includes $6 million to provide tax credits to encourage investment in biotechnology firms and $2.4 million for the Nanotech Biotechnology Initiative Fund. Established in FY07, the fund leverages its state support with private funds to provide research grants in the field of nano-biotechnology. Gov. O’Malley also recommends $5 million in the capital budget to continue development of the East Baltimore Biotechnology Park, which is slated for completion this year.


Higher education would receive a boost in FY09 under Gov. O’Malley’s proposal, with $54.9 million dedicated to the Higher Education Investment Fund (HEIF). Created during the 2007 special legislative session, the HEIF is a non-lapsing fund that invests in public higher education and workforce development, according to the governor’s office. Gov. O’Malley recommends $16.3 million from the fund to freeze tuition for in-state undergraduates for a third consecutive year and $18.5 million to help meet demands for graduates in critical workforce areas such as engineering, math and science. Specifically, the funds will be used to renovate laboratories, increase doctoral and research capacity, and support workforce initiatives.


The budget recommendation for the Maryland Higher Education Commission includes $3 million from the HEIF to support workforce initiatives at Maryland’s higher education institutes aimed at meeting the needs of Maryland’s Base Realignment and Closure.


The FY09 budget proposal also includes $4 million for investments in rural broadband: $2 million from the Division of Financing for the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund to continue to expand DSL broadband service to rural communities and $2 million from the capital budget to continue high speed broadband infrastructure in the state’s rural areas. The capital budget also includes $621,000 to construct ethanol fueling stations across the state.


Gov. O’Malley’s FY 2009 budget recommendation is available at: http://www.dbm.maryland.gov/portal/server.pt