Dear Friends,

Optimism. That is the one word that comes to mind when I think of 2015. With a recovering and some would say rebounding economy, a new Governor and a revitalized Montgomery County Executive, we at Scheer Partners are encouraged that this year we will experience healthy economic growth and opportunities.

Working and living in Montgomery County, we have been fortunate to be protected from the economic swings that other jurisdictions face. Although the economy is not completely returned to its peak, we are predicting an increase in occupancy, an uptick in rents, and a more robust commercial real estate market.

The ‘wild-card’ for 2015 will be how the new Governor proceeds and how the business communities reaction to his plans and policies, along with how the new Governor and Montgomery County Executive interact with each other and each other’s policies, both past and proposed. Collaboration and cooperation will be key to that success.

What’s Next for the State

The governor-elect takes office on Jan. 21 and his budget bill is due to the General Assembly two days later. And that is when the economic pace for the state will be drafted.

Governor-Elect Hogan has criticized the prior administration’s special deals in the form of $544 million in tax credits under Gov. Martin O’Malley and he has signaled strongly that he will not spend money on new rail-transit projects such as the Purple Line, which would link Bethesda and New Carrollton. These are two areas that we will closely monitor as they are important to the clients we serve.

Scheer Partners has and will continue to advise our clients on possible state-support for their new projects and opportunities. We are rooting for the new administration’s success and for continued entrepreneurial thinking to catapult state and local economic growth. We have seasoned staff on hand, such as former State Secretary of Economic Development David Edgerely, to advise clients on leveraging state resources and incentives.

What’s Next for Montgomery County

During his inauguration speech, County Executive Ike Leggett revealed his six-point economic plan. In that plan, he recommended accelerating the MOVE program to fill vacant office space by creating a $30 million tax-abatement program aimed at locating businesses in existing office space and supporting shovel-ready commercial projects. The MOVE program is part of the Montgomery County Economic Development Fund and is designed to attract cybersecurity, green technology, IT and life science businesses to Montgomery County. We anticipate additional details on possible expansion of qualifying businesses to the MOVE Program as the County Executive travels through the county in January to discuss his budget.

Our own Henry Bernstein, former Chief Operating Officer for Montgomery County Economic Development, is closely monitoring the possible addition of new businesses qualifying for the MOVE Program. We will keep you informed.