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NCBiotech Statement on Governor's Budget

Norris Tolson, president and CEO, made the following statement upon the release of Governor Pat McCrory's budget, March 20, 2013.

We are grateful that Governor McCrory recognizes the $59 billion of annual economic impact and the 237,000 jobs that biotechnology and life sciences contribute to North Carolina’s economy. Further, his emphasis on educational and skilled labor infrastructure in his budget highlights the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s critical role in creating the business environment for biotechnology companies to create jobs.

However, the Governor’s budget directs the Biotechnology Center to use previously committed resources to continue daily operations. Such use of these reserves would cause us to default on our commitments to startup companies, research and development grants, economic development opportunities and education projects all across North Carolina.

These endeavors are designed to develop new medicines, grow safer foods, add jobs and improve the environment. Most, if not all, would have to be put on hold or canceled. Worse, companies developing these technologies may be unable to find alternative funding in North Carolina. Furthermore, it is likely that businesses looking to locate to North Carolina will focus on other states where funding and incentives for life-science companies are more readily available.

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s funding comes at a critical time for companies in the life-science world and for North Carolina. Competing states are investing heavily to create the infrastructure and support systems that North Carolina already has. We hope that the members of the General Assembly will continue to work with us, as they have for the past 29 years, and support the Center’s efforts to grow and expand the high paying jobs in the biotechnology and life sciences sector all across North Carolina.

See the impact of NCBiotech programs:

Comments

The Governor should reconsider the reductions in the operating budget for The North Carolina Biotechnology Center. Job creation takes place in early stage and growth companies and reducing funding to a proven job creator in sustainable businesses is counterproductive. The tax revenue spent to develop these jobs is returned with interest to the state as these businesses grow and prosper, creating tax revenues through real economic growth and not through higher rates or "closing loopholes". The Governor's experience with economic development in Charlotte should make him well aware of the benefits of creating good jobs in the state.

If Gov. McCrory is pro-business, pro-competition in life sciences infrastructure, he and his staff should reconsider cutting the current operating budget of NCBC at the expense of North Carolina businesses who benefit directly from NCBC's capacity to vet, filter, and promote emerging life sciences companies. Not now, when our state is just emerging as a competitive "go to" resource for innovative energy, health, and farming technologies. A key to stimulating growth in our state's vital life sciences technology sector, which includes agriculture, medicines, and advanced materials, is assisting earlier-stage technology companies with rapid growth potential. NCBC does this so exceptionally well: through competitive loans, grants, connectivity to academic researchers, and promotional efforts on an international stage. In the agricultural biotechnology area, NCBC initiatives are directly helping our state overcome drought- and other climate-related challenges that affect our livestock, our feedstock crops, and our specialty crops. Cutting NCBC's operating budget and its ability to remove key growth-impeding business risks in emerging technolgoy companies is misguided and short-sighted. We need to sustain NCBC's efforts right now, not cut them back unwisely for the sake of short-term budget gains. Thankfully, the economy is slowly improving, and it will do so more quickly by promoting high-growth, high-productivty life science technologies (including in natural medicines and renewable energy) that will assure a sustainable, healthy future for our communities. This is important.

This is an old saying, but apt. The shortsightedness of reductions in research, and education of the future workforce will slow growth and stall our recovery. The other posters are correct on the issue of other states passing us by. But not only other states - because of NC's leadership in biotechnology these reductions have national importance, and will stifle an industry that is already reeling from the effects of sequestration. These are pointless, self inflicted wounds that fly in the face of the proven success of these programs. First we lost our furniture industry, now lack of investment endangers our biotech industry. Sad.

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