GBC’s Fry: Governor’s new bioscience plan worthy of lawmakers’ attention

Don Fry Commentary on WYPR

Governor Martin O’Malley is on the right track with his proposal to quadruple available biotech investment tax credits in the next four years and to invest more than $1 billion over the next 10 years to grow our state’s bioscience industry.

Other elements of his plan include expanding Maryland’s biotech incubator network, increasing the state’s stem cell research funding, expanding state venture investment, and strengthening support for Maryland’s nano-biotechnology initiative.

Governor O’Malley’s proposal comes at time when our state is well-positioned in terms of technology and science resources.

The Milken Institute, a noted think tank that gauges economic competitiveness, last month ranked Maryland 2nd in the nation for technology and science assets that position it to achieve high-quality economic growth.

The next decade will be a crucial time for Baltimore and Maryland to fulfill our potential as a bioscience center and to fully leverage the tremendous assets that we have in our region.

For instance, most regions would be happy to have just one world-class research university. The Baltimore region has two – Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Combined, these two institutions attract more than $1.5 billion in annual research funding. And that’s not counting other key technology resources in our region such as the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

The point is, we must seize the economic opportunity before us and aggressively build on these assets. The next step is to ensure that state lawmakers in Annapolis assign top priority to supporting the governor’s bioscience proposals.

The biotech tax credit has already proven itself to be a highly effective tool for attracting bioscience investors. The governor’s proposal to expand this tax credit and enact other fiscal measures to nurture Maryland’s bioscience industry growth makes sense.

It’s important state lawmakers agree and convert this proposal into policy.

For the Regional Business Report, this is Don Fry, President and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee, for 88.1 WYPR, your NPR news station.

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