Life Sciences Funding Vetoed
by Governor

Daniel J. Fitzgibbons

August 25, 2000

A life sciences research partnership between the University and Baystate Medical Center in Springfield suffered a setback two weeks ago when Gov. Paul Cellucci vetoed $5 million in funding for the project, which supporters say will spur the development of thousands of jobs in the biomedical industry.

The seed money was part of a supplemental state budget approved earlier this month by the Legislature. Backed by several local legislative leaders, including House Majority Leader William P. Nagle, Jr. (D-Northampton), Senate Majority Leader Linda Melconian (D-Springfield), Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Stan Rosen-berg (D-Amherst) and Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees (R-East Longmea-dow), the allocation was an effort to jump-start the Pioneer Life Sciences Initiative.

Plans for the research partnership call for raising public and private funds to construct a $75 million integrated sciences building on campus and renovate a building in Springfield at a cost of $15 million.

According to news reports, Cellucci said he deleted the money for the initiative because other funding sources are available.

Cellucci approved several other campus-related items in the supplemental budget, including $399,000 for pay raises for UMass Police officers and $1,773,000 to fund the University's collective bargaining agreement with the Graduate Employee Organization. The two-year pact, which was ratified last September, covers the period from July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2001.

Also approved was $161,000 for pay raises for classified staff supervisors represented by Local 509 of the Service Employees International Unit.