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Montgomery County to Take Equity Stake in Local Companies?

New bill could allow for up to 25 percent ownership.

Officials in Montgomery County are working on a bill that would allow money from the Economic Development Fund to be used to acquire up to 25 percent ownership in businesses that are "starting, growing or relocating in Montgomery County," according to the Washington Post.

Currently, Montgomery County can only invest in companies that agree to add a particular number of jobs and lease a certain amount of space. Montgomery County's economic development chief Steve Silverman told the Post that the bill "would allow us to get a greater return on our investments by asking companies for a small piece of the action."

House Bill 891, put forth during the 2010 Maryland General Assembly, set the groundwork for the potential investment. Language in the bill suggests that allowing such investments "may provide the county with an additional tool to support economic development."

The bill also states that each equity investment must be clearly posted on the county's website within five days of the transaction.

Silverman told the Post that he expects the Montgomery County Council to act on the bill no later than February. When asked about the bill by the Gazette, County Executive Isiah Leggett said he "was not yet ready to talk about it."


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