As reported by the New Haven Register, September 17, 2010.
Malloy Says Stem Cell Funds an Investment for Conn.
By Mary E. O’Leary
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy Thursday said his administration would guarantee continued support for stem cell research as an investment that will generate jobs, as well as possibly help find a cure for debilitating illnesses.
Malloy said investing in bioscience “plays to all of Connecticut’s strengths,” including an existing base in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the state’s academic hubs and “a culture of innovation.”
He criticized Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s proposal to cut the 2011 annual $10 million investment because of budget problems. This is part of a $100 million commitment through 2015 that she lead in 2005 that has issued grants, mainly to the University of Connecticut and Yale University, for this research.
The Republican candidate for governor, Tom Foley, Thursday said he did not know enough about the $100 million commitment to funding stem cell research here to say whether it is a good investment.
Generally, Foley said he favors state support to help transition research into commercial enterprises, but he questioned the $100 million investment into one development sphere.
Malloy said while Connecticut has emerged as a leader in stem cell research, it is already missing out on investments in the broader field of bioscience research.
He recommended specifically earmarking existing higher education and Department of Economic and Community Development funds for bioscience loans, grants and research fellowships and proposed new tax credits, if possible in 2012, to attract private biotech businesses to set up shop in Connecticut.
Malloy has said he will benchmark all tax credit programs on the books and keep only those that generate jobs.
The Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis, looking at the UConn hospital and health network, said investments in bioscience could bring 5,000 new jobs here by 2020.
Many stem cell research projects across the country were halted last month by a federal court ruling, but projects using state stem cell funds were not affected. The courts have since approved a temporary injunction against implementing the ruling. Malloy said Connecticut’s investment is already paying off, with an uptick in researchers looking to come to Connecticut.
Malloy has proposed redirecting an estimated $1 billion in unused state research and development tax credits to leverage new research and advanced manufacturing space, while encouraging participation by state and municipal pension funds. Economist Fred Carstensen of UConn has said such a concentrated investment is more likely to spur job growth.
Foley Thursday said he disagrees with the need for tax credits, except when businesses add net new hires. “You shouldn’t have to offer them. The reason Connecticut has had to offer them is because they have made it so expensive and difficult to employ people that they have to go pay people to come here. If you make it a business friendly, an employer friendly state, we have a lot to offer people,” he said.