ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland lawmakers will look at the possibility of expanding a tax credit aimed at boosting jobs in the growing cybersecurity industry around the nation's capital, House Speaker Michael Busch said.
Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press that a work group is due to submit recommendations soon on how to meet the growing demand for jobs in the field. The task force is being led by University System of Maryland Chancellor Britt Kirwan and Robert Hannon, a former head of the Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation.
Maryland lawmakers approved a small tax credit to help develop the industry in the state last year.
"We're going to look at the possibility of expanding the tax credit and incentives for that," Busch said. "Any directions that we can get from the task force that might require legislative initiatives, we want to do that."
Busch said he hopes a separate work group of House members that has focused on enhancing the state's business climate has laid the groundwork to take advantage of incentives to increase jobs in cybersecurity. The speaker said Kirwan has told him the state can't get enough people through graduate and undergraduate programs to fill available jobs in cybersecurity now.
"So I think there is a wealth of opportunity," Busch said. "You know, Fort Meade now has become the largest employer of the state. You have the National Business Park, which is right next to it. Between the two of them, there are 70,000 employees."
Busch also said lawmakers will be looking to help spur small business growth by enhancing the state's investment in the Maryland Economic Development Assistance Fund, which attempts to expand job opportunities in the state by providing financial help to businesses engaged in eligible industry sectors. The speaker also said there could be more investment in the Technology Development Corporation, which was created by the Legislature in 1998 to help commercialize technology from Maryland's research universities.
Busch described the efforts to boost cybersecurity as part of a larger goal to strengthen the state's economy with jobs in research and technology in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. Busch also noted plans for a new hospital in the Prince George's County region. He said there will likely be some development there from a teaching perspective that will complement the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"So I think as this session and the next four years emerge, I think it's really important that the state takes advantage of all the opportunities that are extended in that area," Busch said.