Lansing Boosts Corridor Funding


    MUSKEGON — The state’s Life Sciences Corridor will see double the amount of funding that was originally proposed for 2005, according to a budget agreement worked out earlier this month.

    Gov. Jennifer Granholm had originally earmarked $15 million for the biotechnology and health sciences initiative, but that figure was bumped to $30 million on Sept. 2.

    State Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, R-NortonShores, announced last week that Republicans secured agreement with the administration for a $30 million appropriation for the corridor for the 2005 fiscal year.

    That’s still substantially below the $50 million life sciences spending level under the Engler administration, a period predating the new century’s recession that drastically reduced Michigan state revenues.

    According to Van Woerkom, the Senate GOP also succeeded in pushing for adoption of more of its JOBS Action Plan, a series of 54 bills designed to spur economic development.

    Van Woerkom said the latest element of JOBS was a set of five tax incentives for small and mid-sized businesses that invest in job creation.

    He said last week’s budget agreement winds up about six months of negotiations between the Granholm administration and the GOP-controlled legislature.

    “Long-term budget stability and job creation are vital to improving Michigan’s economic outlook,” Van Woerkom said in his announcement. “Promoting incentives aimed at helping create new jobs will help spur economic growth in Michigan.”

    The agreement closes a projected budget deficit in excess of $1 billion, setting general fund spending next year at $8.7 billion.

    On paper, the deficit was eliminated through $595 million in spending cuts, accounting adjustments and projecting a $450 million revenue increase from higher cigarette and casino taxes.

    The agreement also kept the state’s so-called foundation aid payment to public schools at its current level of $6,700 per pupil.    

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