March 31, 2014

Silver, Schimminger Announce 2014-15 SFY Budget Includes Restoration Funds for Centers of Excellence and Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering to Create Jobs and Boost State Economy
Budget also Establishes an Investment Fund to Help Minority-and Women-Owned Business Start-Ups

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger today announced the 2014-15 SFY Budget restores millions of dollars to critical job creation and economic development programs, including the Centers of Excellence and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) both of which are rooted in high technology industries and public-private partnerships.

"These restorations provide needed funding for many important economic development initiatives. The Centers of Excellence and CNSE have yielded much success and show even more promise for the future. They have made major inroads in several new technology industries that are critical to the state's job creation and economic development efforts," said Silver.

"To spur economic growth and job creation, our house has been staunchly committed to programs that capitalize on each region's inherent talents and assets. With these restorations, the Assembly ensures that some of the state's most effective economic development tools are funded at levels that will allow us to boost economic activity and grow more job opportunities for our residents," said Schimminger, chair of the Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry.

The 2014-15 SFY Budget will provide $3.5 million in restored funding to the Centers of Excellence, which are collaborative public-private partnerships that commercialize scientific discoveries in such fields as nanoelectronics, bioinformatics, photonics, environmental systems, wireless applications and information technology.

Silver and Schimminger noted that this budget departs from the funding disparities of previous budgets and instead funds all the 10 Centers of Excellence at the same amount of $872,333, including the four newer centers: Materials Informatics at the University at Buffalo; Sustainable Manufacturing at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Data Science, at the University of Rochester; and Advanced Energy Research, at Stony Brook University.

The budget also provides CNSE with $50 million in capital funding and a $2.5 million funding restoration. CNSE's state-of-the-art facilities and public-private sector partnerships have received world-wide recognition from the computer chip manufacturing industry and its economic foot print has benefitted businesses throughout the state. Also, students attending CNSE receive a unique higher education experience and a pathway toward a rewarding career in many high technology fields.

To increase minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBE), the budget creates a Minority-and-Women-Owned Business Investment Fund within the Minority-and Women-Owned Business Development Lending Program. This fund would provide critical financial support to foster the development of new and emerging ideas and promote long term financial performance and success of early stage MWBE start-ups.

In addition, the budget will restore $365,000 to the Minority-and Women-Owned Business Development Lending Program for a total appropriation of $1 million.

Among the other economic development program restorations in the budget are $600,000 for the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Smart Lighting project, $600,000 for Advanced Manufacturing in Central New York and $300,000 for Community Development Financial Institutions.