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California, Illinois Budgets Have Mixed Results for Research, TBED

August 29, 2007


California lawmakers reached a budget agreement last week, preserving brief funding for an initiative aimed at supporting high-tech research and innovation. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiled the $95 million Research and Innovation Initiative in January to provide funding to several university-based projects focused on clean energy, biotechnology and nanotechnology research and commercialization (see the Jan. 8, 2007 issue of the Digest).


The fiscal year 2007-08 state budget includes $70 million in lease revenue bond funding for the Energy Biosciences Institute and the Helios Project at the University of California (UC). UC Berkeley will receive $40 million for the Energy Biosciences Institute to focus on the development of alternative fuel, and $30 million is allocated for the Helios Project, an initiative by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to create sustainable, carbon neutral sources of energy. Lawmakers also approved $6 million for UC labor research programs.


Not included in the budget is $15 million in operating funds for the California Institutes for Science and Innovation. UC officials hope to re-engage policymakers on the subject in the future, according to a press release from the UC Office of the President.


The FY 2007-08 Enacted Budget is available at: http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/



Following a volatile legislative session in Illinois between Gov. Rod Blagojevich and lawmakers, a budget agreement was reached, but it does not include funding for several of the governor’s priorities, including a $100 million state-run venture capital fund. Gov. Blagojevich signed the FY08 budget last week, vetoing approximately $500 million.


Gov. Blagojevich proposed the creation of the Illinois Community Assets Fund during his combined State-of-the-State and Budget Address in March to increase access to capital and financing to economically distressed communities and populations (see the March 12, 2007 issue of the Digest).


Lawmakers also left out the governor’s recommendation of $20 million in grants to the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute for stem cell research.


The FY08 budget includes funding for existing programs within the Department of Community and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), including $5.5 million for the Community Technology Center Grant Program, $5 million for the Entrepreneurship Center Program, and $2 million for the Manufacturing Extension Program.


Among the governor's line item vetoes were $1 million for the Innovation Challenge Grant program, $1 million for the Entrepreneur in Residence Program, and $750,000 for a grant to the University of Illinois for Illinois VENTURES.


The FY08 budget is available at: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/publicacts/fulltext.asp?Name=095-0348