UMD President Promotes Programs to Keep Maryland’s Economy on Top

Citing a U.S. Chamber of Commerce report ranking Maryland first in the country for innovation and entrepreneurship and a National Science Foundation report ranking Maryland second in the nation for the economic impact of concentrated research activities, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh urged support in a The Baltimore Sun for programs aimed at keeping Maryland’s economy on top.

But to remain competitive, we must build continually on these assets. A new joint legislative agenda, introduced by Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch, promises to do this, spurring innovation, creating high-tech jobs and expanding the state’s knowledge economy.

The Maryland E-nnovation Initiative offers a state match to private funds raised in support of endowed chairs. This would give Maryland universities up to $100 million to recruit top research talent.

President Loh continued:

The proposed Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone program offers financial incentives for economic development and neighborhood revitalization around “anchor” institutions. To attract the world’s best talent, it is not enough to have great facilities and endowed chairs. People want to live in vibrant, attractive and convenient communities.

The University of Maryland is working with local and county officials to redevelop College Park into a top-ranked college town with expanded public safety, a public charter school and mixed-use development along Route 1. The designation of RISE Zones in College Park would accelerate these efforts and our upward trajectory as a top-ranked research and innovation university.

President Loh’s remarks echo those of a Baltimore Sun Editorial which highlighted the joint agenda of House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller to develop private sector business and jobs in the state.

Too often, the debate about whether Maryland is business friendly goes no farther than a glance at the Tax Foundation’s reports on the state and local tax structure, as if the only choices are a Maryland heavily oriented toward government or one that radically slashes taxes and regulation. The truth is that there are other models for success, and the one that best suits Maryland’s strengths is a strategy that leverages our great advantages in intellectual capital to produce jobs in high-tech fields like biotechnology and cyber security. The Miller/Busch proposal recognizes that through tax credits to attract superstars from the private sector to academia, build the cyber security industry and encourage business formation in the areas directly surrounding institutions like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland.

Senate Bill 601 and House Bill 741 establish a Maryland E-Nnovation Initiative Program. Senate Bill 600 and House Bill 742 establish Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise Zones.