Bond Commission Approves $291 Million For Jackson Labs Project

By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ The State Bond Commission on Monday approved $291 million in borrowing over the next decade for a proposed research laboratory to be built at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, a project the governor contends will help grow the state’s bioscience industry and ultimately produce thousands of jobs.

The Maine-based Jackson Laboratory is building the $1.1 billion facility. Construction is expected to begin within a year. Under the deal already approved by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, the state is providing $192 million in loans that will be forgiven once Jackson creates and retains 300 jobs by the 10th year.
Jackson also is receiving up to $99 million in grants over 10 years for research.

“Connecticut … needs to be involved in an area of … research that is growing in excess of 11 percent per year,” Malloy said.

He added that a decision by Pfizer Inc. last February to lay off more than 1,000 employees at its research and development site in Groton and move some operations to Cambridge, Mass., was a wake-up call for Connecticut.

“If we do not invest in our supporting infrastructure, our universities and our research facilities, then we’re going to lose the opportunities that we have,” said Malloy, a Democrat. He estimates the project will eventually lead to 16,000 bio-science-related jobs.

Yet the project still concerns Republicans. The two GOP members of the Bond Commission voted against releasing bonds for the lab. The project ultimately passed on an 8-2 vote.

Sen. Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, questioned the amount of state money being invested in a private project. If Jackson fulfills the job requirements, it will own the new facility. But the bio-science researcher will forfeit the ownership of the 250,000-square-foot-laboratory, fixtures and furniture to the state if it doesn’t meet the terms of the deal.

Roraback estimated the project calls for to the state spend about $3 million for each scientist who will work at the new lab.

“In my view, our economic development investments ought to create a lot more jobs for a lot less money,” Roraback said. “It’s not that Jackson Labs isn’t doing good work, it’s that we’re over-investing and getting a return that is under what we all should expect.”

Roraback also criticized the project for not having had a public hearing. Additionally, he said the General Assembly “kissed goodbye to any meaningful oversight” of the project with Monday’s vote by the Bond Commission. Similar to how funds were doled out for massive improvements at the University of Connecticut, the $291 million in borrowing will be released over the next decade, without requiring legislative approval for each allotment.

Under the deal, starting in the 10th year and running 15 years, the state will be able to benefit financially from any intellectual property developed at the new lab, which plans to specialize in personalized genomic medicine. That involves tailoring treatments to patients based on their genetic makeup.

The state will share a portion of net royalties, depending on the proceeds; 10 percent of any net royalty proceeds from intellectual property valued up to $3 million and 50 percent of any net royalty proceeds above $3 million.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • carrie

    OMG! Open the window and throw the money out. Mallone got his way again. WHY aren’t we making him resign??????????????? He is a JOKE & so is this project. Ten years to hire 300 people? I can do it in two!

  • LJS

    At around $970,000.00 a job I’d think the state could do better but as of this point it’s pretty plain that alleviating the employment situation couldn’t be further from this governor’s mind. Consider the burdensome mandates that were imposed on small businesses ad of January 1, and the record state tax increase shoved down our throats including a retroactive provision for income taxes. Merry Christmas, vermin, now, shut up and pay your taxes.

    Oh- and how many of the 154,525 jobless will be qualified to fill even one of those 300 jobs that the taxpayer is creating to the tune of $970,000.00 apiece? The smart money is that we’ll be looking outside the state borders to fill them.

    The legislature, which could be speaking up on this is sitting on its hands. It’s plenty plain to me that the working poor and unemployed are not being represented in the least by this government. They endorsed mafia-like tactics to force unionization on PCAs and home daycare providers who would gain nothing by the representation but the SEIU would be able to rake in over $1 Million annually in dues. Malloy scampers off to Davos Switzerland to garner a press release friendly claim of attracting new work that is likely an empty gesture while the elaborate lie that is the operating budget comes unraveled and despite the tax increase we were all forced to swallow there’s a mounting budget deficit that is ultimately going to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the taxpayer.

    The actions taken by this governor are consistent with a desire to rid the state of its working poor and unemployed as though we were a rat infestation. Consider how the latest unemployment numbers moved and how that was spun… in November the rate dropped from 8.7% to 8.4%… a 0.3% drop despite there being a then reported net job increase of only 100 jobs. We’d need closer to 5,500 to move the percentage that much to reflect anything positive but we know that the number fell because job seekers were giving up and losing their unemployment benefits… and Malloy calls this a good trend he’d like to see continue.

    Last month, we saw another 0.2% drop to 8.2% and accompanying that was a revision downward by 1,400 the number of jobs in this state during the month of November… meaning that while we supposedly “enjoyed” a decrease in the unemployment rate we actually LOST 1,300 jobs! yet our governor and legislature insist on spinning it as a good thing and pursue NOTHING that would mitigate the situation one iota. They seem only interested in making the unemployed invisible and not employed while pursuing policies that will ensure no one without a four year degree and union affiliation will ever see a paycheck again.

    As far as I’m concerned this governor is a criminal who needs to do hard time..

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