(TRENTON) Assembly Telecommunications and Utilities Committee Chairman Upendra J. Chivukula called for the reinstatement of funding for research and development to help stimulate New Jersey’s leadership in pharma and the state’s significant progress in life sciences and biotechnology.
? Chivukula’s comments followed Monday’s Assembly Telecom and Utilities panel which heard testimony on the impact of $10M in cuts to the New Jersey Commission of Science and Technology (NJCST) and a reduction of $30M to the Tax Certificate Transfer program (TTCP) in the FY 2010-2011 budget. As a result of the budget cuts, the Commission closed its doors in July this year.
? Chivukula (D-Somerset) issued the following statement:
?? “New Jersey’s rank as the pharma capital of the world and the significant strides we have made in life sciences and biotechnology are a result of the growth of an innovation economy stimulated by investment in research and development.
“We have also benefited from industry and academia partnering to invent new products and processes that have helped our state compete in the global marketplace and provided consumers with higher quality at lower cost.
? “The purpose of Monday’s testimony before the Assembly Telecom and Utilities panel was to evaluate the impact of the budget cuts to our state’s Commision of Science and Technology that was shut down as a result of an elimination in funding.
? “The testimony we heard reinforced the importance of continuing to invest in science and technology, especially in these difficult economic times.
“We were informed that New Jersey received a 30:1 return for every dollar spent in biotechnology and other areas of science and technology and that for every biotech job, an additional 5.8 jobs are created.
? “It is clear that investment in research and development has a multiplier affect. An innovation economy is key to our state’s recovery.”
Debbie Hart, president of BioNJ, a trade association for the state’s biotech industry, told the Assembly panel that the number of biotechnology companies in New Jersey had grown from 80 to 300 in less than a decade. She also testified that the number of jobs had grown from 10,000 in 2007 to 15,000 at current levels. According to the 2009 Annual Report for the NJCST, the Commision’s $10M budget generated $25M in revenues for the State. Hart contended that neighboring states like Massachusetts and Maryland had recently allocated $1B in new funding to biotechnology even as New Jersey withdrew its support..
?The elimination of the NJCST was coupled with the reduction in funding for the Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program from $60M to $30M. According to a recent study, this program delivers dollars directly back to the State Budget at a rate of 15:1.