Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Research Top Priority in Oklahoma Governor's 2007 Budget

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Research Top Priority in Oklahoma Governor's 2007 Budget

Article excerpt

Gov. Brad Henry's budget proposal for fiscal year 2007 includes $390 million for various economic development and research initiatives, including $60 million each for projects of the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University.

These would be part of a $180 million state bond issue that also includes $60 million for a new credit facility that would allow private research entities, such as foundations, to borrow at low cost to develop research and development facilities.

State Treasurer Scott Meacham explained the credit facility idea, which he said would probably be set up as a public trust.

We also wanted to provide the ability for not-for-profits to build out their research infrastructure, utilizing basically the state's credit and their ability to borrow money cheaper than they can, Meacham said.

OU President David Boren praised Henry's ideas for using some of the almost $1 billion in growth, cash and surplus lawmakers will have to allocate this session.

Boren said Henry has set a wise policy of investment to build the state's economy for the future by investing in research.

Part of OU's $60 million would go toward expanding the capabilities of the new cancer research center and establishing a diabetes research center.

When we look at the impact that the M.D. Anderson Cancer Institute and related hospitals and clinics have had on Houston, we can see an example for Oklahoma to follow in building a biomedical research base, Boren said.

In Oklahoma City, he said, the cancer and diabetes centers will join the McGee Eye Institute, OU Health Sciences Center, new businesses being nurtured by the Presbyterian Health Foundation and a research partnership between OU and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.

In Tulsa, OU will be investing in clinical practice and research at the Tulsa site of the national diabetes center as well as in neurosciences and brain research tied to our initiatives in early childhood development with our partnerships with the Laureate Psychiatric Hospital, Boren said.

He said Henry has also proposed paying off the debt of OU- Tulsa's Schusterman Center.

This will allow us to use funds that were to be used for that debt payment to further enhance our clinical and research programs in Tulsa, Boren said.

Meacham said that in addition to components of the OU diabetes center in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, there is discussion of partnerships with the Cherokee, Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes to participate in the program. …

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