Governor Nixon outlines a major economic development proposal at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and an animal-health company in Kansas City. He gave a preview at the Missouri Biotechnology Association meeting at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Nixon proposed creating the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act to provide the money needed to help the bio-technology and life sciences industries grow in Missouri during a speech to the Missouri Biotechnology Association annual conference at the Lake of the Ozarks. Nixon envisions funneling tax revenue from the growth of businesses in that industry into the Missouri Technology Investment Fund over the next 25 years.
Money would pay for grants, forgivable loans, seed capital, as well as customized training at community colleges and four-year schools.
“So we want to have a wide range of options that would run through the current Missouri Technology Corporation to give those that are working already in cutting-edge economic development some dollars to accelerate that program forward,” Nixon told reporters after speaking at the MOBIO conference.
Nixon said he hopes the fund could grow to tens of millions of dollars. The governor proposes funneling tax revenue generated by growth in bio-tech companies into the fund, rather than into General Revenue. At present, the fund is expected to last 25 years, continually being fed by growth in the industry. The governor vowed that measures would be put in place to insure that it is used as intended.
The money generated could be used in a variety of ways, such as attracting top science talent to Missouri, customizing scientific research to be used commercially, building needed infrastructure, seed capital, venture capital and workplace development initiatives.
Nixon said Missouri is primed for explosive growth in bio-technology. The state must be ready to nurture that growth.
“This is an emerging, quick moving industry. You see break-aways from companies and start-ups,” Nixon said. “We’ve got to be very agile in this. This is not a slowing moving, elephant of an economic development tool. This has got to be a very agile economic development tool with a wide range of options.”
The governor says the states which have made such investments have seen explosive growth.
Brent Martin reports.
Nixon visits the Danforth Plant Science Center at BRDG Park in St. Louis Wednesday morning, then travels to Kansas City to Synbiotics Corporation in Kansas City that afternoon.