Jobs Plan Must Include Research Funds
September 9, 2011
By Jerry Kremer
Over the next few weeks President Barack Obama will be wrestling with the dilemma of how to create a job program that will have credibility not only in Washington, D.C., but around the country. If the commander in chief needs some examples of how to bolster the economy, he should take a look at Long Island.
New York State is giving tax credits for job development, and the recently announced 544 new jobs has attracted some positive attention. While Long Island is blessed with some great emerging companies most of the real action is taking place on the college campuses and research centers, and the White House should sit up and take notice.
Thanks to the partnership between the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System and Hofstra University, we have a brand new medical school on the university campus. Preparations for the school and future additions to the school will create more jobs. Add professors and staff and plans for a new engineering school, and you have a net gain of many new jobs.
Stony Brook University has long been the leader in nurturing new businesses in its incubator program. In addition Stony Brook is now one of the largest employers on Long Island: It is estimated that it generates $4.65 billion through its education and research activities. The economic output from Stony Brook has helped create 60,000 jobs in recent years. The new Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center has the potential to become a major force in the energy business with adequate government support.
Brookhaven National Laboratory may not be a household word, but it has made countless contributions to the scientific world. Its research has saved thousands of lives and promises to do even more. It is currently embarked on a $100 million federally funded project known as National Synchrotron Light Source II, which may help to find potential cures for complex illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease and various forms of cancer. Brookhaven employs 3,000 people.
Thanks to the existence of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, OSI Pharmaceuticals was born and OSI is now a major player, not just on Long Island, but in the nation. The laboratory has won recognition for its research on cancer and genetics, as well as a host of other areas. Over the years it has hosted many Nobel Prize winners.
Farmingdale State College is now welcoming a number of growing private companies. This public-private partnership will produce many new jobs over the next few years now that word is out that the campus is anxious to attract private-sector businesses.
With all these successes to brag about, one would think that the White House would be showering these programs with taxpayer dollars. The advances made on local campuses and laboratories, and those yet to come, will enhance the lives of millions of Americans in the upcoming years. So what’s the catch?
The current Congress has a group of new zealots who have placed research at the top of the list for budget cuts. Uninformed yet thinking they know everything about everything, the right wingers have pushed for a federal budget that would destroy most of the key scientific projects that continue to save lives.
The Long Island congressional delegation has been relentless in fighting for new research funding, but they face an uphill battle in the months ahead. Maybe through luck or the delegation’s perseverance, the president will add research money to his plan for new jobs. The Long Island experience is proof that research creates jobs.
Arthur “Jerry” Kremer is the founder and Chairman of Empire Government Strategies and is a 23-year veteran of the New York State Assembly.