Governor Charlie Baker’s recent announcement that his administration will ask the legislature for a five-year, $500 million life sciences initiative that will extend the state’s decade-long commitment to the biotech and medical technology industry demonstrates the governor’s focus on maintaining Massachusetts’ lead in this important area.
The proposal, which Gov. Baker unveiled recently at a biotechnology convention in San Diego, includes up to $295 million in capital spending and up to $150 million in tax incentives for companies that create jobs. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will continue to manage the funding that, in the governor’s words, will be used for strategic investments in public infrastructure, research and development, workforce training, and education.
Just as new drugs in the biotech field target certain genes to work their wonders, the governor’s proposal, with its focus on job training and career development, and less emphasis on brick-and-mortar spending, represents a new paradigm in the state’s support of the biotechnology industry compared to what existed in the first 10 years of the state’s assistance to the biotechnology field.
The governor’s proposal also is significant because it represents an acknowledgment that we must continue to invest in the state’s future. Although the FY 2018 budget is facing severe limitations because of revenue shortfalls, Gov. Baker’s proposal recognizes that we cannot short-sell our future because of current shortcomings. Just as anything else in life, you have to spend money to make money, and the state’s investment in this area today will reap big returns in the years ahead.
We hope the legislature moves forward quickly on the governor’s proposal to ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the way in this important field in the coming years.