$100M ‘InnovatePA’ Credits Part Of Budget Tax Code

Central Penn Business Journal

Tax credits worth $100 million that will help fund greater investment in high tech industries are part of a larger tax code bill awaiting Gov. Tom Corbett’s signature this week, according to legislators.

The “Innovate in PA,” or InnovatePA, program would auction $100 million in deferred tax credits to insurance companies in the state, with the money used to support Ben Franklin Technology Partners; the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority; and the state’s regional biotechnology centers, also called Life Sciences Greenhouses.

In 2017, insurance companies holding the credits — applicable to the state insurance premiums tax — can claim up to $20 million per year.

The auction is expected to generate at least $75 million. The money will fund the groups as follows:

  • $37.5 million, or 50 percent, to Ben Franklin Technology Partners.
  • $33.75 million, 45 percent, to the Venture Investment Program within Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority.
  • $3.75 million, or 5 percent to the Life Sciences Greenhouses.

“Biotechnology, medical device, software and advanced networking technology are the fuel of our economic engine. We must embrace every opportunity to bolster Pennsylvania’s status as a home to these industries by supporting venture capital funding and investment in them,” Rep. Joe Hackett, a Republican representing Delaware County, said in a statement.

Hackett and Rep. Warren Kampf, a Republican representing Montgomery and Chester counties, proposed InnovatePA in the 2012 session, but the bills died, said Todd Brysiak, executive director of the House Policy Committee for the Republicans.

The legislature incorporated InnovatePA into House Bill 465 — passed July 3 — which provides the tax code legislation for 2013-14 budget, Brysiak said.

The bill is awaiting Corbett’s signature, but when he intends to do so is not known. The governor’s office did not reply to requests for comment.