2017 State Policy Priorities
I. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT & TAX REFORM
Preserve existing tax exemptions and economic development incentives related to life sciences companies and organizations. Enact new tax policies and incentives to spur company and capital formation, and job growth.
Promote tax incentives to support emerging technology companies, including but not limited R&D tax credits to offset losses and tax exemptions on research equipment and manufacturing.
Fund Invest Georgia to encourage equity investment in Georgia bioscience and high technology companies.
Create matching grant program for recipients of National Institutes of Health SBIR (Small Business Innovative Research) and STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) grants.
II. UNIVERSITY RESEARCH
Maintain FY 2017-18 funding levels for college and university life sciences-related research through allocations to the Georgia Research Alliance and the University System of Georgia.
III. PATIENT ACCESS
Ensure patients’ access to innovative therapies in any modifications to commercial health insurance plans and the State’s Medicaid and state employee health plans. Monitor Medicaid program and oppose reductions in state funding.
Assist healthcare providers in their efforts to improve patient outcomes.
Support modifications to commercial health insurance, Medicaid, and state employee health plans, which promote patient access to adequate provider networks and enhance plan transparency.
IV. REGENERATIVE AND REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE
Georgia should support the federal regulations governing research and technology applications in regenerative and reproductive medicine.
V. STEM EDUCATION STANDARDS
Encourage education that enhances economic development and competitiveness, specifically in the life sciences arena. Improve math standards and support Next Generation Science Standards to advance the states' employment pool and close the skills gap in Georgia's workforce.
Georgia’s life science industry includes 570 facilities employing nearly 24,000 people at places like the Shire, Merial, Alcon, Quest Diagnostics, and other companies in the medical devices and diagnostics, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, testing laboratories, and medical research sectors. The industry produces $16.7B in sales and contributes $6.9B in state GDP (as of 2011). Georgia ranks 14th in the U.S. for bio-related occupational employment.
Georgia Needs Targeted Incentives for Biotech
Biotechnology and medical technology businesses have great potential to create and retain high-paying, quality jobs in Georgia while strengthening the state’s economy to compete globally, but these companies must navigate lengthy and expensive federal regulations to research and manufacture their products. These regulations, while necessary to ensure safety, are very costly and usually create a significant lag in profit generation compared to businesses in other sectors. Thus, biotechnology and medical technology companies must be dealt with differently when considering incentives to bring new businesses to a geographical area or retain companies that might otherwise move to regions where more favorable tax codes and/ or grant programs exist. For this reason, Georgia Bio and the Georgia Life Sciences Coalition is focused on key areas of legislation aimed to support growth of our industry in Georgia.
Opportunity to Develop Life Science Industry in Georgia with Legislative Priorities
Goal: Enable growth within Georgia’s life science business community to drive innovation, accelerate commercialization, and strengthen Georgia’s economy to compete globally.
• Sale/ Transfer of net operating losses (NOL)
-NOL is a financial loss during a time when a business’ allowable tax deductions are greater than taxable income. In some states, these NOLs can be sold by small companies to profitable companies within their state in the form of tax credits or research development credits, and all proceeds must be reinvested in the state so as to further investment in the local economy. These programs have been implemented in numerous states across the U.S. with proven benefit to the local economy.
• Support for education and workforce programs at GaBioEd Institute
- The Georgia BioEd Institute is a division of Georgia Bio whose mission is to strengthen the state's life science workforce pipeline. By building K-12 teachers’ biotechnology skills, confidence, and providing access to critical equipment, and by articulating the educational and career pathways to high-paying STEM jobs in the state, we are addressing critical needs in STEM education in our public schools. Our goal is to develop a public/private partnership to provide STEM training and equipment to Georgia’s teachers and students, costing $750,000 to impact 100,000 students.
Other supportive initiatives:
• Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR)/ Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) matching grant programs
-SBIR and STTR grants are available from the federal government with a review process already in place for reviewing and grading applications. States, such as Kentucky, have implemented a state-matching program for companies awarded federal SBIR and STTR funds if the company is willing to stay local (for example, remain a Kentucky-based company). Additionally, 51% of the funds awarded must be spent in the state. Kentucky projected the program would create 860 jobs with salaries over $65,000 by 2016.