Montgomery councilman wants to encourage cybersecurity investment -- Gazette.Net



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As Maryland targets investment in cybersecurity with a new tax incentive, one Montgomery County councilman wants those jobs and is looking to join the state with a local incentive.

County Councilman Hans Riemer is working on legislation that would provide more money to cybersecurity investors if they make their Maryland home in Montgomery County.

On the last day of the 2013 state legislative session, in an effort to solidify Maryland’s place as a cybersecurity leader, the Maryland General Assembly passed a program proposed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to provide a tax credit to investors in start-up cybersecurity companies.

Lawmakers funded the program at $3 million for 2014.

Riemer (D-At large) of Takoma Park said cybersecurity is a rapidly growing sector and with the state looking to increase that sector, he would like to see that growth happening in Montgomery County.

“The idea is that Maryland has a great depth in the cybersecurity sector — it is growing by leaps and bounds — and we want to ensure that growth continues to happen in the state and definitely in Montgomery County,” Riemer said in a phone interview Monday.

“Montgomery County has a real chance to capture a sizable proportion of these jobs,” Riemer wrote in a March 18 letter to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D).

Riemer’s proposal would piggyback on the state’s credit by providing qualified investors with more money. The draft of his bill limits how much any one company could receive.

Exactly how much extra money Montgomery would provide investors under Riemer’s proposal is unclear.

Steven A. Silverman, Montgomery’s director of economic development, said the county has not finished its review and is reconciling the potential legislation with the state’s new program.

“We think that there’s an opportunity for Montgomery County and the state of Maryland to be the cybersecurity hub of the country,” Silverman said.

Riemer said his bill hinged on the state passing its program. Now that it has, he hopes to introduce his bill in June to begin the program sometime in the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1.

“Big movers are moving fast and the time is now, so it’s a ‘strike while the iron is hot’ situation,” he said.

kalexander@gazette.net