March 15, 2007
Texans don’t need to be reminded of the economic importance of biotechnology. From the fields around College Station to the Medical Center in Houston, biotech is one of our greatest assets and brightest hopes.
Senate Bill 865 recognizes the importance of this sector and seeks to enhance it. The bill reinstates the sales and use tax exemption for new pharmaceutical biotechnology cleanrooms, and it eliminates the requirement that the new facility be valued at $150 million or more to benefit from these incentives. The measure was amended onto another bill and became law last year.
Biotechnology and the life sciences is a recognized growing industry cluster in Texas, employing more than 78,900 people. The state offers a sales and use tax exemption specifically to semiconductor fabrication cleanrooms. But pharmaceutical biotechnology cleanrooms couldn’t use this incentive unless they were constructed between July 1, 2003 and August 31, 2004, as part of a new facility valued at $150 million or more.
Pharmaceutical biotechnology cleanroom facilities allow companies to maintain quality in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical products. Industry sources indicate that for every job that biopharmaceutical companies produce themselves, another 3.5 or more are created in the economy. Reinstating the exemption for pharmaceutical biotechnology manufacturers, and eliminating the requirement that the new facilities must be worth at least $150 million, will facilitate economic growth in this sector, and will enhance our efforts to retain emerging life science businesses in Texas. Plus, it will extend the state’s attempts to develop new technologies and therapies.
These are advances that can help people across the state and around the world. We should do everything we can to develop this part of our economy – it will only become more important in the future.