SB 527, “Life Science Development Act”, has once again resurfaced from the depths of buried legislation. Similar legislation was proposed in the 2009-2010 and the 2010-2011 sessions, failing to go anywhere each time. Indeed, the 2009 version was also the recipient of a Bad Bill of the Week award.
Yet here it is again.
It is sponsored, this session, by Senators Hartsell Jr. (R – Cabarrus), Brunsetter (R – Forsyth), Clodfelter (D – Mecklenburg) and Rucho (R – Mecklenburg).
Its seemingly harmless and humanitarian purpose is to encourage investors to invest in the life sciences: “The General Assembly finds that life science companies generate employment opportunities for the state, expand local tax bases, and engage in the discovery, development, and commercialization of new pharmaceuticals, biologic products, medical devices, and diagnostic products.”
Sounds great, right?
Read a little closer.
This bill intends to create a risk-free investment vehicle for private investors to invest in “life science” companies. Investors will be promised a certain rate of return, and will receive a state tax credit (i.e. bailout) to make up the difference if the rate of return falls short of what was promised.
In other words, private investors would get to keep all the profits themselves, but taxpayers would be forced to cover their losses.
While masquerading as an attractive proposal to create jobs and expand local tax bases, this bill only privatizes profit while socializing risk.
And think about how risky these investments must be if only a guarantee of complete financial security will result in private investors putting any money toward these life science companies. This bill is necessary because no private investors (including members of the General Assembly) are willing to risk their own money on these companies.
So what is the sponsors’ solution? Risk the taxpayers’ money instead.
This bill puts taxpayers on the stick for bailing-out highly risky investments for wealthy investors and that’s why SB 527 gets this week’s Bad Bill of the Week award.
Hayden Soloway says
I can’t beleive three Republicans are sponsoring this bill. Republicans had better stop acting like Democrats (Do you hear this, Tillis?) and know that every one of you are being watched and reported on for every single thing – especially bills like this which continue to hit taxpayers with the bill for their own pet projects. BOOOOOO to all of you. Straighten up your act or all of you will become one-termers.
Phillip Cox says
Unbelievable, of all the boneheaded idea’s. Life is full of risk, and investments are no exceptions, through the reengineering of risk, to protect the investor from possible loses to their investments (property), this law places an unnecessary burden on the tax paying citizens of this state. Definitely free market principles are not being applied here. This is a prime example of socialist economics, where through law, the few are trying to plunder from the many, just like cars for clunkers, or free golf carts, it goes on and on. The property owner gets it in the neck, and the politicians and their cronies take it to the bank. These guys are most likely looking out for no. 1. Hopefully we can find some alternatives to these people if they don’t get a clue, laws should benefit all not the few.
Don Alward says
This bill is most likely to help billionire David Murdoch finance his research facility in Kannapolis NC. I believe Hartsell has close ties to Murdoch. Just another bill to help the super rich. I have no problem with the rich I just think they should use their own money to increase their wealth and accept the risk especially since they are going to reap all the rewards.