“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness"

Charles Dickens’ observation about the French Revolution, in his A Tale of Two Cities, could apply just as well to the 2015 General Assembly session.

By one measure, at a micro level, Connecticut’s biopharma industry fared well this session.

For example, there were fewer bills than in previous sessions attacking industry sales and pricing practices. Proposals to add biopharma-specific taxes and required disclosure of tax records and corporate pricing strategies failed to win support. Ultimately, good sense prevailed with respect to regulation of biotech agriculture, medicine formularies and laboratory practices.

But at the macro level, the life sciences took a body blow. The state’s biennial budget passed in the final hour of the session is profoundly counterproductive to growth of the industry in Connecticut.

Biopharma research and development takes a long time—often decades--and is very expensive. But the budget cuts R&D tax credits to half their stated value and limits the ability to use net operating losses to balance future income. As a result,  companies are likely to reconsider their presence in Connecticut and deter others from starting up or moving here.

Lawmakers unfortunately overlooked what the state Department of Revenue Services has found--that between 2001 and 2012, $109.2 million in R&D tax credits were the catalyst for $3.14 billion in investments in Connecticut.

While much rhetoric was heard in hearings and on the floor of the Connecticut House and Senate as to the great value of the biopharma industry for patients, job seekers, and the 21st century economic development of the state, in the end budgetary foolishness prevailed over wisdom.

For more information, and a complete list of the fate of the more than 70 bills affecting biopharma this session, contact CBIA Bioscience Growth Council chair Paul Pescatello at 860.244.1938 | paul.pescatello@cbia.com | @CTBio