Ben Franklin Technology Partners threatened by 60 percent budget cut - Technical.ly Philly

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Jun. 17, 2009 8:30 am

Ben Franklin Technology Partners threatened by 60 percent budget cut

In a restricted budget season, you have to make your case for survival. Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners program has earned the state $3.50 for every $1 invested, according to an independent study by the Pennsylvania Economy League for the years between 2002 and 2006, as cited in a Morning Call Op-ed. In 25 years, […]

In a restricted budget season, you have to make your case for survival.

Pennsylvania’s Ben Franklin Technology Partners program has earned the state $3.50 for every $1 invested, according to an independent study by the Pennsylvania Economy League for the years between 2002 and 2006, as cited in a Morning Call Op-ed.

In 25 years, the program’s Southeastern Pennsylvania branch — based at the Naval Yard in South Philadelphia — has provided more than $130 million to grow more than 1,600 regional enterprises, but still, lingering in the state Senate is a bill that would cut 60 percent of the body that funds the statewide BFTP program.

“This is an extremely challenging year for the state budget, and difficult decisions must be made,” wrote R. Chadwick Paul Jr., the president and CEO of the Northeastern Pa. arm of BFTP, in the Op-ed in the Call. “But decreasing funding for Ben Franklin would reduce Pennsylvania job creation and job retention, and result in a net revenue loss for the commonwealth.”

Innovation groups westward have taken up the cause, too.

Startup Pittsburgh is calling for entrepreneurs to lobby their legislators in Harrisburg, as is the Pittsburgh Technology Council. In addition to the ‘burgh and Philly, BFTP covers the Lehigh Valley from Bethlehem and the Pennsylvania T from the safe confines of State College.

“Since 1983, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania alone has helped companies create 13,931 jobs and helped them retain 20,772 existing jobs. These are highly paid, sustainable jobs,” Paul also wrote. “Ben Franklin boosted the Pennsylvania gross state product by $9.3 billion.”

The deadline for the state budget looms at the month’s end; it has to be passed by July 1. No budget has passed on time since Gov. Ed Rendell took office in 2003. He recently warned state workers they will stop being paid if the budget fight goes late, again. In a particularly tight fiscal year, that fight is particularly heated, so no matter the importance of innovation, BFTP is, like most other groups, on the chopping block.

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Does every group that receives state money have to take cutbacks in this economy, or is it foolish to think to slash any money from BFTP which is said to make the state a profit? Have you seen Philadelphia groups or organizations take a stand on this issue?

H/T Philly Tech News

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