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Lee-Collier-Charlotte
Business Observer Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010 8 years ago

Jackson lab on hold

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Collier leaders delay a decision on upping taxes to subsidize the lab's expansion.

Collier County commissioners put off a decision about whether to spend $130 million in subsidies for Jackson Laboratory, a Bar Harbor, Maine-based genetic research group.

Commissioners are considering whether to raise property taxes or impose a utility fee to fund the nonprofit's expansion in Collier County. The money would match $130 million pledged by state legislators, for total taxpayer subsidies of $260 million. (For more information about state spending on the biotechnology sector, read "Costly Clusters.")

If approved, Jackson officials say they will hire 244 people over the next 10 years and operate the lab on land donated by the Barron Collier Cos. near Immokalee. Economic development officials hope the move will spur a cluster of biotech development in eastern Collier.

However, the $130 million in state funding is dependent on Florida receiving federal social-service funds that have not yet been granted because the legislation is bogged down in Congress. Collier County commissioners say they won't fund the county's share until they're certain state funds will be available.

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