In the Weeds: Joint Budget Committee + Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program
By: Colorado BioScience Association Date: 05/21/2020
Since early May, the Joint Budget Committee (JBC) has been working to balance the state budget and review recommendations from the committee staff and the Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting (OSPB). The JBC has been forced to make significant cuts across all departments and programs, in order to backfill a $3.3 billion hole that the state is facing.
Two recommendations were put forward by JBC staff that could have cut all funding for the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program, if both recommendations were accepted together.
- Eliminate the statutory transfer of limiting gaming funds to the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program (fixed at $5.5 million annually).
- Repeal Senate Bill 11-47, which transfers funding from the General Fund to the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program based on income tax growth for the advanced industries. (Transfers under this mechanism have ranged from $4.1M to $7.8M in the last five years.)
On May 13, the Joint Budget Committee voted to accept a recommendation supported by JBC staff and OSPB to suspend the automatic fixed transfer of limited gaming funds to the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program for the next two years. During the same discussion, the JBC also voted to include a General Fund appropriation of $500,000 for FY 2020-21 to partially offset the loss of funds to the program. The end result of their decision was a $5 million cut to the program for the next fiscal year.
While this decision to make cuts to the program was disappointing, CBSA and our partners recognize the severity of the state’s budget crisis and understand that we need to make some concessions during this challenging time.
On May 19, the JBC revisited the second recommendation to repeal Senate Bill 11-47, which would end the General Fund transfer that provides the remaining funding for the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program. While the JBC staff continued to recommend ending the transfer, OSPB opposed the cut and ultimately the JBC decided not to take action. This decision maintains the existing transfer based on income tax growth for the advanced industries, which is estimated to be $7.6 million for FY 2020-21.
The decision to preserve significant funding for the Advanced Industries Accelerator Grant Program during this period of severe budget cuts is a huge win for CBSA and our life sciences ecosystem. We are grateful to our members for their support and engagement during this effort to protect the program. We know your outreach and stories of innovation made a difference. We are also grateful to our partners at the Office of Economic Development and International Trade for their commitment and support of this program.
The Joint Budget Committee is getting closer to a balanced budget that they can present when the General Assembly reconvenes next Tuesday, May 26.
CBSA will continue to monitor developments at the State Capitol and keep our members updated on the issues impacting our life sciences community.