Hartford – Gov. Dannel P. Malloy today referenced Pfizer Inc.’s decision last year to ship about 400 jobs from Groton to Cambridge, Mass., as a prime reason why the state is making a $290 million investment for a genetics research lab in central Connecticut.
During a meeting of the State Bond Commission, Malloy described the Pfizer job loss as “a very clear warning shot that was fired across our bow” that Connecticut must invest in bioscience or lose more high-tech jobs.
The commission went on to approve the $290 million bond issue over 10 years despite objections from two Republicans.
“They [Pfizer] acknowledged in part that they were doing that because Connecticut had failed to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support their ongoing effort,” Malloy said.
The governor said the investment in The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center campus in Farmington will help Connecticut retain and grow high-tech science jobs.
The Jackson Lab project is slated to open in 2014 and must employ 300 people within a decade, including 90 scientists, under the arrangement with the state.
A state financing entity, Connecticut Innovations, is providing a $192 million "forgivable loan" to construct and furnish the building that Jackson Lab will get to own. An additional $99 million state grant will go to research and funding support.
The jobs must pay an average wage equal to 125 percent of the state average. That figure would be $74,328 based on 2010 data If the jobs goal isn’t met, Jackson Lab must forfeit ownership of the building to the state, but would not need to pay back either the $192 million or the $99 million because it is a nonprofit businesses, said Catherine Smith, commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development.
Speaking with reporters after the meeting, Malloy said the state needs to make investments such as the Jackson Lab deal to remain competitive with neighboring states and even other countries. Without these investments, the state is at risk of losing more high-tech jobs, Malloy said.
“If we do not invest in our supportive infrastructure, our universities and our research facilities, then we’re going to lose the opportunities we have,” the governor said.