The 2006-07 state budget proposed by Governor Rendell last week is a great disappointment for the Pittsburgh Region's economic development efforts. It includes only minor improvements in the state's business tax structure, and it fails to address the serious problems with the tax structure that make the state uncompetitive. The budget also proposes to cut state funding for biomedical research for the next two decades in order to create a program to build and equip laboratories today, even though the state could maintain research funding and use existing economic development programs for laboratory construction. The budget also proposes no increase in funding for the programs that help our region turn research into new businesses and jobs, so the real dollars invested in those programs are continuing to go down. What is particularly disappointing is that the budget proposes to increase total state spending by over $1 billion, yet it allocates so little of that funding to the issues that would help to create jobs in southwestern Pennsylvania and the rest of the state.
A more detailed analysis is at http://www.pittsburghfuture.com/currentissues.html