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Amended VA Budget Could Be Kind to TBED

January 10, 2005

Ah, the difference positive revenue figures make for some states' tech-based economic development (TBED) portfolios! In mid-December, Virginia Gov. Mark Warner introduced an amended 2004-2006 biennial budget that is the most favorable yet during the Warner term for programs to promote economic growth through strategic investments in science and technology.

“Having restored Virginia’s financial stability, we now face the challenge of maintaining it over the long term,” Gov. Warner said in his address to a joint meeting of the Senate Finance, House Finance, and House Appropriations Committees.

The opportunity to fine tune the state's TBED investments comes as 2004 revenue projections were estimated to be nearly $1 billion higher than originally forecast in 2003. In addition to cutting several taxes and shoring up the state's rainy day fund, Gov. Warner proposes the state supplement funding for dozens of initiatives and programs.

The single largest new economic development initiative, Virginia Works, uses $20.8 million to promote new strategies for enhancing the economic development potential of rural areas. One of the program's three components supports several manufacturing technology initiatives, including: $379,000 to launch an Advanced Manufacturing/Packaging program at Dabney Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge; $100,000 to expand technology, manufacturing and marketing through the Sloan Foundation Forestry Industries Center at Virginia Tech; and $394,000 for the creation of the Virginia Small Manufacturing Assistance Program to initially help 30 small existing manufacturers at the Virginia Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

Other TBED-related highlights in the amended budget request include:

  • Adding $1.9 million to support Virginia's Center for Innovation Technology services in the areas of defense and homeland security, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and assisting small technology businesses.
  • Adding $1.6 million to finance a biotechnology loan program for technology commercialization activities related to biotechnology inventions.
  • Providing $300,000 to support electronic commerce programs.
  • Providing an additional $163 million to institutions of higher education for operating and capital expenses.
  • Increasing graduate student financial aid for the first time in 10 years and providing $2.4 million to "keep the best and brightest graduate students in the Commonwealth."
  • Adding $2.5 million in nonrecurring costs to further strengthen three promising research programs recognized by a national panel of experts to be among Virginia’s most promising research programs: the host-pathogen-environment interaction program at Virginia Tech; the morphogenesis and regenerative medicine research program at the University of Virginia; and computation and modeling research and partnerships through the Virginia Modeling, Analysis, and Simulation Consortium at Old Dominion University.
  • Providing $2.0 million for a semiconductor education grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Engineering in support of the Infineon Technologies, Inc. major expansion.

More information is available at: http://asp.vipnet.org/news/anmviewer.asp?a=105&z=2