Virginia Senate Passes Bill to Attract Biotechnology, Create Jobs

 Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus




Senate Democrats unanimously support effort to bring cutting-edge tech companies to Virginia


(RichmondVa.) – Democratic senators passed a bill today to create jobs by attracting bioscience and other technology companies to the Commonwealth.


The bill makes it easier for Virginia to better use resources the state already has without raising taxes.


“This important piece of legislation was passed on a day when economists are predicting a deepening recession and when unemployment rates in parts of the state have reached 13- to 15-year highs,” said Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun County), the sponsor of S.B. 1338. “Virginia can maintain its leadership status in science development while attracting industries that create high-paying jobs.”


The measure, which passed 35-4, promotes science and technology-based research, development and commercialization in Virginia.


It’s an economic development measure that targets multiple entities.


Under the legislation, the Commonwealth Technology Research Fund would be renamed the Commonwealth Research and Commercialization Fund. Renaming the fund emphasizes how important commercializing the research of energy, conservation, microelectronics and bioscience is.  


With the new measure, the fund would also give Virginia universities and dynamic small bio-technology companies a chance to participate in a loan program to help pay for construction of commercial research facilities, like wet labs.


Science industries offer high-paying jobs. Promoting these industries would help to attract badly needed positions in the Commonwealth, while creating new products.


“Other states, like Maryland and North Carolina, have spent tens of millions of dollars to invest in their technology and life sciences industries,” Herring said. “While Virginia cannot afford to do that, we can better use our existing resources.”


One existing resource the bill impacts is the Angel Tax Credit, a stimulus to encourage early-stage investments in small, Virginia high-technology start-ups.


Through an amendment, the credit would be given to the kind of 21st-century projects it was intended to support. The tax credit would be limited to small Virginia companies engaged in science and technology. And half of the available credits would be given to technology-related research developed at or in partnership with the commonwealth’s colleges and universities.


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