San Diego Life Sciences Leaders Show Support for Governor’s Tax Changes

9/6/11Follow @bvbigelow

San Diego’s life sciences and biomedical communities showed their support today for California Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan, which he has offered as a way to promote statewide job growth by closing a “toxic tax loophole” and offering other incentives for companies to add jobs.

“The majority of Biocom’s members are smaller companies within Southern California, and those companies will realize benefits from each of the three components of the package,” Biocom CEO Joe Panetta (and a San Diego Xconomist) told the governor during a news conference today at Gen-Probe (NASDAQ: GPRO), the San Diego-based medical diagnostics company.

Brown welcomed the support, saying, “The folks in Washington from the President on down have been trying to figure out what to do about the economy.” In California, where statewide unemployment has been running at 12 percent, higher than the national average, Brown says it’s clearly important to stimulate the economy “by putting a foot down on the accelerator to create jobs” and “putting a foot on the brakes” for costly entitlement programs.

“The point is to have tax policy that encourages what you want and discourages what you don’t want,” Brown said. The governor, who proposed the tax changes just two weeks ago, said he wants to get two-thirds of the California legislature to agree to his three-point plan—and he was optimistic that can happen by the end of this week.

“This is not something that we talk about over months,” Brown said. “It would be days. It would be an example of how the two parties can work together in the face of the sorry spectacle that is taking place in Washington these days.”

Getting two-thirds of the state legislature to approve Brown’s proposal will require getting two Republican votes in the assembly and two in the state senate. Despite Republican resistance, Brown says that has to happen this week, before the legislature adjourns. “We seem to be picking up support in some conservative corners,” Brown said. “I don’t want to count the chickens before they’re hatched, but there’s a lot of cackling going on here.”

It was Brown’s first visit to San Diego since he took office in January. In addition to Panetta, Gen-Probe CEO Carl Hull and David Gollaher, CEO of the San Diego-based California Health Institute, joined the governor on the podium. Other San Diego business leaders were in the audience, including … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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