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Fireworks on the Fourth for NJCS&T?

June 20, 2003

The Fourth of July might just be a paid holiday for New Jersey's tech-based economic development agency after all. Since Governor James McGreevey released his FY 2004 budget request six months ago, the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology has been living under a June 30 death sentence. Facing a deficit forecast in excess of $4 billion, the governor had called for the elimination of the $15 million program.

The Commission, which has been the state's lead S&T organization since 1985, administers an array of programs that support academic research, technology incubators, business financing, SBIR proposal assistance, and the state's affiliate network for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The latest independent analysis, assessing the long-term impact of Commission activities as of 2002, revealed an economic impact of $120 million annually and job creation figures averaging approximately 750 each year.

A June 18 article in the Bergen County Record reports the Democratic legislative leaders and the governor have reached a compromise restoring $8 million to the popular Commission. Democrats control the State House and the General Assembly. The Senate is split evenly between the Republicans and Democrats. While New Jersey's investments in building a stronger technology-based economy have shared strong bipartisan support in the past, a Republican reaction was not available before the Record article went to press.

More information on the New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology, including the 2002 impact assessment, is available at: http://www.state.nj.us/scitech/home.htm

New Jersey