New Hampshire lawmakers are considering a bill that would give targeted tax breaks to businesses that focus on generating human organs. The measure comes after the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, a Manchester-based non-profit entity led by noted inventor Dean Kamen, was chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense for an $80 million grant focused on manufacturing tissues and organs.
“The purpose of the bill is to create a ‘New Hampshire welcome’ to companies that seek to create this brand new industry that doesn’t exist now,” said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Republican from Wolfeboro, during testimony Wednesday.
Under Senate Bill 564, for-profit companies that are associated with ARMI would receive a 10-year exemption from both the state business profits tax, as well as the business enterprise tax. With the project still in its earliest stages, Bradley said that there are no companies yet that could qualify for the exemption, meaning the measure doesn’t cost the state any revenue.
The goal of the bill, he said, is to ensure that New Hampshire remains at the forefront of a potentially revolutionary medical technology that could benefit soldiers wounded in battle, as well as people in need of organ transplants.
“This industry--it is not a question of when it will happen, it is not a question of it will happen. The question is where it will happen, and that’s what our opportunity is,” said Bradley.
The bill has bipartisan sponsors, including Sen. Lou D’Allesandro, a Democrat from Manchester.
Some fiscal conservative groups, however, oppose the measure, pointing out that New Hampshire traditionally doesn’t provide incentives for specific industries.
Last week, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy criticized the bill as “special treatment” for ARMI.
“Empowering the government to arrange the economy as it sees fit, to rig the rules so that the government’s preferred groups are favored over others, does not protect the unconnected and less powerful from the connected and powerful,” wrote the Center in a statement. “It turns the government into a tool of the powerful and well connected.”
Lawmakers in the Senate Ways and Means Committee did not vote on the measure at the conclusion of the public hearing.