2010 Archives

Tapped out Texas tech fund halts applications


The following is from the July 14, 2010, edition of The Houston Chronicle. Bernard Weinstein, an economist and associate director of SMU's Maguire Energy Institute, provided expertise for this story.

July 15, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas — A state fund meant to spur the growth of emerging technology research and startup companies in Texas has almost run out of money and has stopped taking applications for future awards, at least temporarily.

The Legislature appropriated $203 million for the Emerging Technology Fund for the current two-year budget cycle. But the fund is tapped out even though the governor's office has committed only about half of the budgeted amount, The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

As for the other $100 million, Mike Morrissey, a senior adviser to Gov. Rick Perry, blames slow federal payments for $50 million of the shortfall and a $50 million discrepancy in the state appropriations process.

The emerging tech fund, along with the Texas Enterprise Fund, are two accounts Perry champions as tools for helping spur business investment and create jobs.

Suspending applications to the fund could set back Texas' efforts to become a leader in the fields of biotechnology, robotics and clean energy, said Bud Weinstein, an economist with the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.

"The ETF has helped promote Texas as being committed to a new economy that's based on emerging technologies," Weinstein said. "Right now is the most important time in the business cycle to have those funds available. ... I'm really distressed to hear that the fund is not taking applications right now."

Read the full story.

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