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Research Initiatives Slated for Funding in Approved State Budgets

April 23, 2008

Lawmakers in Georgia and Maryland approved action earlier this month on several TBED-related measures for the upcoming fiscal year. Highlights of the approved budgets are outlined below.
Lawmakers committed $2.5 million, half of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s recommendation, to create the Georgia Research Alliance venture capital initiative to speed commercialization of university derived technologies to the marketplace. Earlier this year, Gov. Perdue asked legislators to provide $5 million to the Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC) in FY09 that would be matched with $5 million in existing funds and pooled with $30 million in private funds (see the Jan. 30, 2008 issue of the Digest).
Lawmakers reduced by half funding for the Georgia Youth Science and Technology program, which aims to increase interest and enthusiasm in science and technology among elementary and middle school teachers and students. The program is slated to receive $250,000 in FY09.
The FY 2009 approved budget is available at: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2007_08/house/budget/reports/FY_2009_Bill_Final_Conf_Cmte_.pdf
The state will provide ongoing support of $19 million for stem cell research grants in the upcoming fiscal year – an issue that divided the two legislative chambers throughout the 2008 session. Gov. Martin O’Malley recommended $23 million for the Stem Cell Research Fund earlier this year (see the Jan. 23, 2008 issue of the Digest). Lawmakers reached a compromise toward the session’s end, providing $19 million with the possibility of an additional $1 million from tax collections, if it becomes available.
Lawmakers fully funded Gov. O’Malley’s request to provide $6 million for tax credits to encourage investment in biotechnology firms and $2.4 million for the Nanotech Biotechnology Initiative Fund within the Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED).
The Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority Fund business assistance funding, includes $3 million for operating and capital grants for the development of nanobiotechnology research under a competitive process to be developed in consultation with TEDCO, according to budget documents.
Lawmakers removed a $2 million appropriation for the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund within the Division of Financing and instead requested a report from DBED to the budget committees on the rural broadband project, including the status of all project phases, the use of state funds received, potential sources of private funding, and estimates for project completion. The budget committees will have 45 days to review the report and consider the $2 million transfer to the Rural Broadband Assistance Fund from the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority Fund.
The FY09 budget maintains for a third consecutive year a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates at public universities and increases community college funding by 9 percent or $21.2 million. Additional higher education initiatives slated for funding include $15.5 million to address workforce shortage areas and research needs, $3 million for Defense Base Closure and Realignment-related workforce programs (the same level recommended by the governor), and $1.7 million for Regional Higher Education Centers. The Maryland Industrial Partnerships program is slated to receive $1 million within the Educational Grants appropriation under the Maryland Higher Education Commission.
The FY 2009 operating budget (SB 90) is available at: http://mlis.state.md.us/2008rs/bills/sb/sb0090e.pdf

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