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Seattle council moves to strengthen research in life sciences

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The Seattle City Council hopes fewer government regulations and lower taxation on federal research dollars brought into the city will save lives, here and abroad.

The council introduced legislation last week it hopes will strengthen the growing  life science industry in Seattle.

The legislation, CB 117438, will waive city business and occupation taxes on government research funds by allowing a deduction for grants, contracts and sub-awards received as compensation towards the support of life science research and development.

“This legislation recognizes the significance of the life sciences sector and will help it grow in our City,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess said in a press release. Burgess is chair of the Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee.

“Research and development funds from the federal and state governments can lead to medical breakthroughs that treat diseases and improve care in Seattle and around the world.”

According a Seattle City Council news release the life science industry is one of the fastest growing industries in greater metropolitan area — between 2007 and the first quarter of 2011, jobs in this sector grew nearly 9 percent statewide.

“In life sciences, government funds are an all-but-essential bridge between basic research and private capital support,” said Erik Nilsson, president of Insilicos, a company that conducts biomarker analytics of laboratory data. “Removing the B&O tax on these funds will help startup companies grow past their early, most vulnerable phase.”

The legislation was introduced on April 4th, and the bill will be discussed Wednesday morning at 9:30 in the Seattle City Council Chambers.


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