A week ago, a shutdown of the federal government loomed, something that would have had a massive financial impact on Montgomery County. The thousands of federal workers who live there would be out of work, and the many contractors who do business with the government would be too.
Meanwhile, in Annapolis, a bill to offer millions of dollars to start-up technology companies was stuck in the General Assembly.
Now, a week later, the government shutdown has been avoided, at least for now. And state lawmakers did approve a scaled-back Invest Maryland bill just hours before they adjourned for the year. Lisa Fadden of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce says the $75 million available to start-up companies under that bill is the right tonic, given the economy.
"We have a lot of technology that is locked up in federal labs and academic institutions," Fadden says. "Johns Hopkins gets a lot of money from the federal government, and so does NIH. A lot of that research is locked up. It never makes it from the lab phase to the commercial market."
Opponents of Invest Maryland worried about its costs, adding the way the program will be paid for was too complex to understand.