The state legislature is considering a bill that would give $150 million to scientific research and development.
The bill, HB 2477, calls for the establishment of the Arizona Twenty-First Century Fund to “build and strengthen medical, scientific and engineering research programs and infrastructure in areas of greatest strategic value to this state’s competitiveness in the global economy with an emphasis on bioscience.”
While the Commerce and Economic Development Commission would oversee the fund, the bill requires the commission to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a nonprofit organization that would distribute the money.
The state appropriation, according to the bill, would be distributed over five years. The Legislature would give $50 million to the Fund this year and distribute $100 million over the next four years.
The bill stipulates that after this fiscal year, the nonprofit organization “shall provide funding in an amount equal to or greater than the financial assistance provided by this state.”
Last week Jerry Bisgrove, chairman of the Stardust Charitable Group, pledged to donate $100 million to the biosciences if the Legislature passed the bill and appropriated the $150 million to the sciences.
“Stardust is coming in and matching the state’s money, not the other way around,” Bisgrove told the Arizona Republic.
The bill is sponsored by Rep. Bill Konopnicki. Last week Speaker of the House Jim Weiers testified to the House appropriations committee in support of the bill. The bill unanimously passed through the committee.
For more information:
“$150 million proposed for biosciences,” Arizona Republic, 02/23/06
“$100 mil science donation pledged,” Arizona Republic, 02/26/2006
“Science Foundation is born,” Arizona Republic (Don Budinger op-ed), 02/26/2006
“Big chips are falling into place for Arizona,” Arizona Republic, 02/26/2006
“Gift boosts Ariz. As biosciences mecca,” Arizona Daily Star, 02/26/2006