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not safe from Pataki ax

Programs for industry
not safe from Pataki ax

First, the good news. Programs operated through the state Science and Technology Foundation came through relatively unscathed, although one major offering was eliminated.
Funding remains stable–$1.1 million–for the foundation’s technology development organizations. High Technology of Rochester Inc. acts as this region’s TDO, providing services like a high-tech incubator and on-site business assistance.
Pataki neither cut nor expanded the $1.1 million earmarked for the Industrial Technology Extension Service, which funds field specialists to support manufacturers.
The 13 state Centers for Advanced Technology were funded again for $13 million. Rochester’s CAT–the Center for Electronic Imaging Systems–conducts research in digital imaging and is operated jointly by the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology.
The center also provides business and technology support for small businesses. It has worked with several firms in Rochester, including Chapman Instruments Inc., Lucid Technologies Inc. and Sayett Group Inc.
The $1 million received from the state is matched by industry funding, said Gary Conners, CEIS associate director. He noted thatboth federal and state funding increasingly requires a matching component from industry.
Venture capital support through the Small Business Technology Investment Program–providing funds for technology-based start-ups–was slashed from $4 million to $2 million. However, that pool had received only $50,000 a year prior to 1994.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership, a program providing technical assistance to small manufacturers, was cut completely under Pataki’s proposed budget. This year, the program received $3.2 million, with matching funds available from the federal government.
The ax also fell heavily on the Urban Development Corp., which funds several assistance programs for manufacturers.
The Strategic Resurgence Fund, providing low-cost financing and technical assistance to industry, saw its budget fall from $28.5 million to $25.2 million. The Regional Economic Development Partnership Program, which gives funds to municipalities to be used in infrastructure support for manufacturers, is to receive $5 million next year, down from $8.5 million in 1994-95.
Funding for the Industrial Effectiveness Program dropped from $6 million to $4 million in the proposed budget. IEP provides technical, financial and educational assistance to manufacturers.
Several Monroe County firms–including Fresnel Optics Inc., Hammer Lithograph Corp. and Verax Systems Inc.–have received IEP assistance in the past four years.
“I think (cutting IEP funds) is a mistake,” said Kent Gardner, director of economic analysis for the Center for Governmental Research Inc., a non-profit research organization. “IEP is one of the most effective programs they have.”
Pataki also hacked nearly $12 million from the Department of Economic Development’s funding. Massive consolidation and streamlining prevents the state budget office from listing a breakdown of specific program cuts, spokesman Jeffrey Gordon said.
The new budget slashes $1.5 million from the research and development program at the state Energy Research and Development Authority. The 10 percent cut affects grants to companies like Ameritherm Inc., which received $250,000 in 1993 to develop new induction heating products.
The Job Development Authority, which offers loans and guarantees for construction, machinery or improvement of industrial or manufacturing plants, receives $6 million infusion in Pataki’s budget. Of all the state programs, JDA is the one used most frequently by manufacturers in Ontario County, said Michael Manikowski, director of the Ontario County Office of Economic Development.
Even so, local manufacturers first turn to Ontario County for their funding needs, he said.
“Frankly, we’ve worked for many years to make ourselves independent from these kinds of resources,” he said.


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