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For Release — Decmeber 17, 2000

GEN*NY*SIS: SCIENCE AND NEW YORK'S ECONOMIC FUTURE
By Joseph Bruno
New York State Senate Majority Leader

Throughout our history, from pioneering canal days to the height of America's industrial and manufacturing age, New York has been a national leader in embracing new ideas and technologies to expand commerce, build our economy, and provide opportunity for our citizens.

A glaring exception came a decade or more ago when past state leaders failed to comprehend the benefits and opportunities presented by the computer chip revolution that overnight brought sweeping changes to our national and state economies.

Now, at the dawn of a new economic age, when the speed of new discoveries in the fields of life sciences, genetics, and genomics barely outpaces new ideas and expectations for improving the quality of life for all Americans, New York cannot afford to make that mistake again.

In the new millennium, states with clear vision and the commitment to embrace these new technologies in life sciences will lead the nation in creating new economic opportunities for citizens and businesses.

That is why the state Senate's Republican Majority has proposed a new initiative to make New York preeminent in the application and commercial development of life sciences.

Our plan—dubbed GEN*NY*SIS, an acronym for Generating Employment Through New York Science—includes a total of $500 million in targeted tax credits and direct state grants to match private, academic, and industry investments designed to lure new biotech companies and encourage new alliances between industry and our world-class universities and research facilities.

Simply put, these new industries can unlock the genetic keys to life and apply that knowledge to create everyday solutions to cure disease, improve medical diagnostics, enhance the effectiveness of medicines, and boost health.

First and foremost, the goal of GEN*NY*SIS is the creation of new jobs for New Yorkers and to make our state an undisputed leader in research and development of applied life sciences technology.

The future of research, medicine and technology all are closely tied to the exciting, new discoveries in genetics, genomics and other biotechnology fields. We need to take steps now to display our resolve and secure New York's preeminent role in this nascent technology.

Unfortunately, New York already is falling behind in the race for new research funding, dropping from first among states in research grants from the National Institutes of Health to 42nd in growth of new funds.

As Business Council of New York State President Daniel Walsh noted when he joined me at a press conference to unveil the GEN*NY*SIS initiative, ''There is a substantial pot of money to be chased, and the race is on. We have been modestly in the game. This proposal puts us in the game big-time.''

"This GEN*NY*SIS program is going to spawn research the likes of which this state has never seen," said James J. Barba, president and CEO of the Albany Medical Center and College—one of the nation's premier medical schools.

And Greater New York Hospital Association president Kenneth E. Raske hailed GEN*NY*SIS as "a forward-thinking investment" that "will help our economy thrive and improve the health of our citizens."

GEN*NY*SIS is a natural outgrowth of the Senate-inspired Jobs 2000—or J2K—initiative, New York's most comprehensive economic development program ever that has already begun to provide a total of $500 million in economic assistance to high-tech companies that seek to locate here.

As proposed, GEN*NY*SIS will include:

  • $150 million in direct state grants to match private, academic and industry investment in basic research, including funding for research, laboratory construction and the purchase of state-of-the-art research equipment. Additionally, GEN*NY*SIS funds would provide three-year retention grants to biotech scientists and create a "James D. Watson Young Investigator's Program," named for the father of DNA discovery, to encourage innovation by newly minted, New York Ph.D.'s.

  • $75 million to form a "Life Sciences Business Development Program" to encourage the growth of biotech industry in New York State through workforce training and creation of life science bio-business parks.

  • $45 million in targeted tax relief, including creation of special tax benefit "life science development zones," more than doubling the existing Research and Development Tax Credits to 20 percent and providing increased wage and tax credits for biotech industry employers.

  • $5 million in new funding for Empire State Development and NYSTAR, the New York State Office of Science and Academic Research created through J2K to help new businesses overcome regulatory hurdles and provide additional startup assistance.

Just as Dr. Watson's discoveries concerning DNA earlier this century revolutionized life sciences studies, recent new findings like the mapping of the human genome have created unprecedented commercial opportunities that promise to improve the quality of life for everyone.

GEN*NY*SIS will position New York at the forefront of a new and growing industry of applying life sciences research to the creation of thousands of real jobs, and assure that the world will turn to New York for leadership in this growing and exciting field.

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December 18, 2000