How 4 tech-related bills fared in the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 12, 2016 12:57 pm

How 4 tech-related bills fared in the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session

Tax credits for angel investors and incubators once again failed. Here's the full rundown.
The Annapolis waterfront.

The Annapolis waterfront.

(Historic downtown Annapolis by Steven Frame via Shutterstock)

With Sine Die falling at midnight, the 2016 Maryland General Assembly session is in the books. While this year’s session didn’t have the drama that ridesharing regulations created in 2015, bills to help tech and innovation were still on the docket.

The Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) flagged a handful throughout the session, and here’s how they fared:

1. Angel Investor Tax Credit:
  • Did Not Pass ❌

The final push was around tax relief, but not the kind that would help investors and startups. The end of the Annapolis session passed without action on bills that would create an Angel Investor Tax Credit in Maryland. It’s the second straight year that the tech community brought numbers to committee hearings, and the second straight year the bills failed to pass. The bill would’ve created a fund of at least $5 million to dole out 50 percent tax credits to early stage investors. It’s the GBC’s signature bill. Will they try again next year?

2. One Maryland Tax Credit:
  • Did Not Pass ❌

Another bill that involved incubators was up for a second year, and didn’t pass. The move to expand the One Maryland Tax Credit program to make incubators eligible seems to have political will. It passed by unanimous vote in the full Senate, where Baltimore-based State Sen. Bill Ferguson was the lead sponsor. But the bill didn’t make it out of committee in the House.

3. TEDCO Investment in Universities:
  • Passed ✅

After picking up the Maryland Venture Fund last session, TEDCO added another capability this year. A pair of bills that passed will allow the quasi-governmental agency’s Maryland Innovation Initiative the right to provide equity financing to universities to commercialize intellectual property. In the past, it could only provide grant funding. In the past, the MII has funded Baltimore startups like Analytical Informatics, Harpoon Medical and Sonavex Surgical.

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4. Pension System Making Investments:
  • Passed ✅

Here’s another bill that could involve TEDCO. This bill allows the board of the state pension fund to enter an agreement with TEDCO (or another entity) to make private equity or venture capital investments. Assuming Gov. Larry Hogan signs the bill, more details about what types of investments are likely to emerge in the resulting agreement. The state’s fiscal analysis of the bill says as much as $25 million could be available to invest, but it also said the effect on small businesses (like startups) is likely to be “minimal.”

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