MichBio Keep tax credit

March 12, 2011
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Michigan’s fledgling life sciences industry could become a more important economic sector if the state takes steps to bolster it, according to a plan issued earlier this month by trade organization MichBio.

“The Future of Biosciences in Michigan” is the report delivered by MichBio President and CEO Stephen Rapundalo to the bipartisan Michigan Bioscience Legislative Caucus. About 20 lawmakers attended the event, according to MichBio.

State Rep. Roy Schmidt (D—Grand Rapids) holds a leadership post with the caucus. Schmidt did not respond to a request for comment.

The report offers a baker’s dozen of topics and dozens of recommendations, from changing the Michigan Business Tax to creating “bioscience zones” to teaching biosciences in the kindergarten through 12th grade education system.

“This is sort of a preliminary step,” Rapundalo said. “It’s meant to be a living document, sot ath as discussion goes on, we can adjust it.”

The plan is based on the testimony of bioscience professionals in 2009 and 2010 before the House Subcommittee on Biosciences, as well as MichBio roundtables and a survey.

Despite Gov. Rick Snyder’s distain for tax credits, the report urges the state to retain the Angel Investor Tax Credit, enacted just last year, as a “primary tool” in attracting venture capital for life sciences.

“That’s a very, very effective tool that a number of other states have utilized…not just for bio, but across other technology areas, too,” Rapundalo said.

It also suggests a new tax credit, and a review of how the tax credit system impacts the bioscience sector.

“I don’t think we’re terribly out of sync with one another,” Rapundalo said of Snyder, who headed two venture capital firms that invested in life sciences companies before he ran for governor.

“One of the things we call for is a review of tax credits as well as, more importantly, what does it cost to do biobusiness here in the state, as opposed to other states. Where appropriate, credits, I think, certainly can be an effective tool and in other cases, they may not be appropriate. In that regard, I don’t think we’re out of sync with the governor or with Mike Finney at the MEDC.”

A link to the entire document may be found at www.michbio.org

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