Innovation Voucher Program (S.817-A/A.1260-A)

Date: 2017

S.817-A Funke/A.1260-A Buchwald                                         

MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Unshackle Upstate, a non-partisan, pro-taxpayer, pro-economic growth, education and advocacy coalition made up of business and trade organizations from all parts of Upstate New York, supports this legislation.

This bill, the New York State Innovation Voucher Program Act, would establish a program under the auspices of the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) to enable small businesses to gain access to research and development by the state’s colleges and universities, government laboratories and public research institutes. The bill also requires ESDC to publish quarterly reports that will allow lawmakers and the public to gauge the impacts of the program in terms of the number of jobs it creates.

Under the program, small businesses would receive Innovation Vouchers, which would provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds that could be used to gain access to expertise that they would otherwise be unable to obtain.  

The public-private partnership would connect small businesses – which often lack the ability to access research and development resources -- with research and development facilities in the state in an effort to create new jobs while promoting innovation.  In doing so, this measure would not only benefit the state’s existing small businesses, it would also benefit the state’s higher education research institutions.

Job creation is critical if Upstate New York is going to improve our lackluster economic climate.  Measures such as this one that will help existing businesses support that effort.

For these reasons, Unshackle Upstate supports the enactment of this legislation.