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Maryland Stem Cell Program, Massachusetts Budget Cuts, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, CB Richard Ellis

Maryland Trims $1M from Stem Cell Program as Part of Broader Budget Cuts
Amid $300 million in budget cuts that Maryland’s Board of Public Works announced last week is a $1 million cut for the state’s stem cell research fund, to $18 million, the Maryland Daily Record reported.
The stem cell budget was expected to be among the budget casualties as the state looks to stem a widening budget shortfall [BRN, Oct. 6, 2008].  
Julie Coons, CEO of the Tech Council of Maryland, told the Maryland Daily Record that the cuts, which broadly affected the state’s high-tech and biotech development initiatives, place the states future economy at risk.
“These are difficult times, but it is important to think about the long-term impact,” Coons told the paper. “If you think about how tough times are, you need to know about how you restore the state’s economy and state coffers.”
Ronald Wineholt, vice president of government affairs with the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, warned that there may be more cuts if the state’s financial situation does not improve. “At a certain point, you have to live with the revenues that you’ve got,” he said.
The Department of Legislative Services recently projected that the state could see a $500 million shortfall for fiscal 2009 and $1.4 billion the following fiscal year if economic conditions continue to worsen.

Mass. Biotech, Economic Development Efforts Hit by $1B Belt-Tightening
Last week, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced $1 billion in spending cuts to help address a budget deficit of $1.4 billion.
Mass High Tech reported that the cuts will affect a number of biotech and other technology initiatives in the state, including a biotechnology incubator space in Lynn, part of the Massachusetts Biotech Research Institute, that was originally to receive at least $60,000 in the coming fiscal year but has had its funding “axed.”
Other high-tech related efforts affected by the cuts include the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, which will see $187,500 in cuts; the Massachusetts Office of Business Development, which will have to cut its payroll and administrative expenses by $100,000; and State Laboratory and Communicable Disease Control Services, which will eliminate $530,000 in spending.
Some quasi-public initiatives are subject to voluntary cuts, including MassDevelopment, with $4.5 million in cuts; Massachusetts Educational Finance Authority, with $2 million in cuts; and MassHousing, with $9.5 million in cuts.

Mass. Towns Looking to Lure Biotech from Boston/Cambridge
Looking to attract more biotechnology businesses to their borders, officials from several Massachusetts towns on the Route 128 corridor met last week at a seminar hosted by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council to discuss strategies for luring biotech.
Sarah MacDonald, a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, told the Daily News Transcript that biotech firms are looking to expand from Cambridge and Boston throughout the state, noting that since 2001, 27 biotech firms have filled 1.7 million square feet of space outside of the Boston/Cambridge area.
Officials from Arlington, Belmont, Brookline, Concord, Dedham, Lexington, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley, Weston, and Westwood attended the meeting.
At the meeting, town representatives were asked to fill out a "BioReady Survey" with questions about each town’s zoning and infrastructure.
The state biotech council will next classify each community as bronze, silver, gold, or platinum to indicate how well prepared they are to host a biotech company.

CB Richard Ellis Lays Off Staffers in Restructuring
Global real estate services firm CB Richard Ellis has laid off an undisclosed number of employees as part of a national restructuring plan, the Baltimore Business Journal reported last week.
Robert McGrath, a spokesman for the firm, told the paper that the layoffs were “modest” and that the company will disclose further details of the restructuring in its third-quarter earnings.
John M. Germano, executive managing director for CB Richard Ellis’s mid-Atlantic region, said in an e-mailed statement to the publication: “Like the rest of the commercial real estate industry, CB Richard Ellis is operating in an extremely challenging environment. We must act decisively to ensure we’re in the best position to accomplish our goals, both now and when the economy turns.”