SOURCE: Tech Council of Maryland

April 14, 2011 09:23 ET

Tech Council of Maryland Applauds Successes of the 2011 Session of the Maryland General Assembly for State's Technology and Biotechnology Industries

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - Apr 14, 2011) - The Tech Council of Maryland (TCM), Maryland's largest technology and biotechnology association with nearly 500 members employing more than 250,000 in the region, today applauded Gov. Martin O'Malley and the Maryland General Assembly for perhaps the most tech- and biotech-focused legislative session ever. The 90-day session ended Monday, April 11, with a host of accomplishments that speak to the importance of the tech and biotech industries and its rising stature among policymakers. TCM, with help from its active membership and partners in the business community, was able to realize significant legislative and budgetary accomplishments this year.

"I am really pleased with the 2011 session and its impact on members of the Tech Council of Maryland," said Renée M. Winsky, CEO of TCM. "The General Assembly's key policymakers really understand the importance of Maryland's tech and biotech community and continue to place a greater emphasis on the importance these industries and their vital role in Maryland's economy."

Most notably, one of TCM's top priorities, the Invest Maryland program, passed on the last day of the session. This program, proposed by Gov. O'Malley, creates roughly $70 million in funding over the next five years for Maryland's early-stage and venture-stage tech and biotech companies. The Invest Maryland program provides one-third of the funds to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development's venture fund and the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority Equity Participation Investment Program, which both focus investments in seed- and early-stage Maryland companies. The remaining two-thirds of the funds will be invested in more mature Maryland companies by private venture capital firms. This program infuses much needed funding for Maryland's innovation economy at a time when the capital markets make it challenging for tech and biotech companies to survive, invest and grow.

"The Tech Council and its members applaud Governor O'Malley for having the leadership and foresight to introduce and pass the Invest Maryland program," said Larry Letow, TCM Chairman. "Since the defeat of the Tech Tax, Maryland's policymakers are placing a great importance on Maryland's innovation and knowledge economy. The passage of the Invest Maryland program is the culmination of years of work for TCM, its members and our partners. It shows that Maryland is serious about becoming a leader in the industries of tomorrow."

Other notable accomplishments include a two-year eligibility extension for biotech companies utilizing the Biotech Tax Credit. The Biotech Tax Credit also was funded at $8 million for Fiscal Year 2012, the second year in a row at that level and a 33 percent increase from two years ago. The legislature created the Commission on Cybersecurity Innovation and Excellence, which will study and recommend ways to make Maryland a national leader in this important field. Maryland's Coordinating Emerging Nanobiotechnology Research (CENTR) Program, which funds industry-leading research nanobiotechnology projects, received $2.4 million in funding for the next fiscal year. Stem cell research funding received no budget cuts and will be funded at $12.4 million, continuing important research in this field.

TCM also was able to partner with other leaders in the business community to defeat a variety of harmful legislation including a bill that would have ended all tax credit programs and then put the onus on the legislature to reinstate them, including important and successful programs like the Biotech Tax Credit and Research and Development Tax Credit. Additionally, TCM helped defeat onerous corporate tax changes like combined reporting and a permanent tax increase for Marylanders with over a million dollars of tax income, which impacts many small businesses. TCM also worked to defeat legislation harmful to some of Maryland's important job creation engines in telecommunications and biopharmaceuticals.

ABOUT THE TECH COUNCIL OF MARYLAND
The Tech Council of Maryland (TCM) is the largest technology trade group serving the advanced technology and biotechnology communities of Maryland. TCM's mission is to advocate for the interests of the technology community, further the role of technology in the Maryland economy, and nurture an environment where technology companies can collaborate, grow and succeed. For more information, visit www.techcouncilmd.com.

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