Biotech bill is not sound investment
) A proposal to establish a Massachusetts Life Science Center
would do little to improve the states economic competitiveness
according to testimony offered by the Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk
University today before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital
Expenditures and State Assets.
No. 4234, a bill to encourage investment and expand the states
life sciences industry, would provide $500 million in bond funding
for specific capital projects. It would also establish an investment
fund for fellowships, research grants, loans and workforce
training. The bill also calls for an incentive program that grants
tax breaks to biotech firms that locate in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts has never needed and doesnt need now is a policy
of throwing state money at sectors deemed to be winners,
to the inevitable disadvantage of those implicitly ruled out as
losers, BHI Executive Director David Tuerck told
the panel. Just because other states want to glamorize biotech
with ill-considered public subsidies doesnt mean that Massachusetts
has to go along.
to several studies published by the institute since 2001, Massachusetts
is a highly competitive state with an economy that enables both
growth and high wages. Massachusetts ranks second in the most recent
index complied by the institute. At the same time, the state faces
huge infrastructure, housing and energy challenges. Throwing money
at high tech, rather than attending to these challenges is bad policy.
a high level of competitiveness is like riding a bicycle: You have
to go forward to stay up. We need to repair our roads, bridges and
tunnels. We should find ways to reduce energy costs and reduce
not increase corporate taxes. But it is these matters that
should get our attention, not the professed needs of one sector
that seems now to represent the next wave of innovation, said
the administration and the legislature should focus on policies
that address all of the states economic sectors. We
should not get back into the business of targeting corporate tax
cuts to special pleaders as we did back in the 90s. Instead,
whats needed is comprehensive corporate tax reform that will
broaden the base and lower the rate; a sensible transportation policy;
and, an education system that trains the workforce of tomorrow whether
in biotechnology or other areas in which the Bay State excels.
release in PDF
Full Testimony in PDF