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Assemblyman Fears Adverse Affect from Loss of Tax Credits on Industry Showing Steady Growth over Past Three Years

(TRENTON) — Assemblyman Upendra J. Chivukula on Friday cited survey findings showing biotech firms in the state growing during the recession as yet one more reason Gov. Christie’s reduction of the state’s high tech tax credit is economically dangerous.

“We have a sector of industry in New Jersey — biotechnology — that seems to be largely unaffected by the economic downturn and what’s the first thing that Gov. Christie does for them? Reduce their tax credits by half,” said Chivukula (D-Somerset). “This is not the way to attract and keep high tech companies in the state.”

Under his FY 2011 Budget, Gov. Christie reduced the corporation business tax benefit certificate transfer program for new or expanding tech and biotech companies by half, from $60 million annually to $30 million annually.

According to a survey of industry executives performed by Ernst & Young and BioNJ, the industry’s trade group, the number of people working at biotech companies in the state increased to an estimated 15,000 employees in 2010, a 50 percent growth from 2007 numbers. The survey measured the growth of the biotech industry in the state, its maturity and details, including cash flow. New Jersey is home to slightly more than 300 biotech firms.

“Gov. Christie is playing a dangerous game with one of the only industries successfully weathering the economic storm in the state,” said Chivukula. “It is my sincere hope that his efforts to save some money in the short-term don’t wind up compromising New Jersey’s burgeoning high tech future in the long-term.”