Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Gregoire Ratifies Creation of Innovation Partnership Zones

Governor Chris Gregoire recently ratified legislation creating innovation partnership zones. These zones will link globally competitive companies and research institutions with new products, skills training and local reinvestments to drive local and regional economies.

“Washington will continue to compete, and succeed, in the global economy if we build regional resources that support regional economies. These focused business and academic clusters are a key part of my Next Washington business plan and bring the promise of innovation and jobs for specific regions and for the state economy as a whole,” said Governor Gregoire.

The fiscal year 2007-09 capital budget includes $5 million for the zones. The $5 million allocation will fund five grants over the next two years to help pay for buildings and infrastructure. In addition, the capital budget includes $58 million for Washington State University to complete the Pullman Life Sciences Building and $5 million for broadband infrastructure in rural parts of the state.

The 2007 legislative session ended last month with the approval of the first installment of $70 million over the 2007-09 biennium for the Life Sciences Discovery Fund . Created in 2005, the fund provides grants for promising life science university research within the state. The bill allocates $35 million per year from strategic tobacco settlements for 10 years beginning in 2008.
The fund's total impact is expected to exceed $1 billion by leveraging funds from private and federal sources. It is anticipated to drive important health care innovations, new company formation and job creation across the state.

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