Wednesday in Annapolis, Governor O’Malley unveiled his proposed FY2015 budget for the State of Maryland, the last of his budgets as governor. Excluding appropriations to the Rainy Day Fund, the General Fund grew by 3.6% over FY2014. The Governor’s budget includes record funding for K-12 education, record funding for local police aid, nearly $10 million to keep tuition growth to 3% and supports 48,000 jobs. As proposed, the budget closes a nearly $600 million two-year budget shortfall and includes no new taxes or fees.
For the business community, the Governor’s proposed budget includes many incentives designed to spur business investment and job creation. Funding for the Cybersecurity Tax Credit – created last year as a way to incentivize and attract new cybersecurity companies to Maryland – is increased to $4 million this year, an increase of 33% from FY2014 funding levels. The R&D Tax Creditis increased from $8 million to $9 million, the Biotechnology Tax Credit is increased from $10 million to $12 million, and theSustainable Communities Tax Credit, which is due for reauthorization this year, is level funded at $10 million.
Other highlights include:
- Nearly $30 million for the Maryland Enterprise Investment Fund and Challenge Investment Programs
- $28 million for the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund
- A record investment of $11 million for the Small, Minority, and Women-owned Business Investment Account
- Over $6 million for the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority
- $5 million for the Maryland Innovation Initiative
- $4.5 million for the EARN program
- $400,000 for the Maryland Industrial Partnerships
In June 2013, the Greater Baltimore Committee held a day-long Chesapeake Conference of CEOs in order to bring together Maryland’s business leaders and generate recommendations for how Maryland can be more competitive in the national and global marketplace. The CEO conference found that Maryland’s business and civic leaders strongly believe that the overarching strategic objective for making Maryland more competitive must be to develop a “Compact for Competitiveness,” a shared set of strategic priorities for economic growth and job creation embraced by leaders of both business and government in our state.
The Governor’s budget includes a strengthened set of tools designed to leverage investment and create jobs, but the General Assembly will have the final say on what ends up in the budget. This is why it is so important that our government and legislators understand and share our priorities and goals for making Maryland more competitive and business-friendly.
We will only become more competitive by continuing to invest in our emerging biotech and cyber industries, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship, broadening our economic base and creating a climate that is beneficial to businesses.
We hope that as the budget moves through the legislative process, competitiveness and job creation remain at the top of everyone’s agenda. If you have any questions or concerns about the budget, feel free to contact me.
Donald C. Fry
GBC President & CEO