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Bush and Gallagher Applaud Scripps Florida Funding Corporation on Agreements


CONTACT: Alia Faraj
(850) 488-5394

WEST PALM BEACH - Governor Jeb Bush today applauded the focused work of the Scripps Florida Funding Corporation as it culminated its fourth meeting by approving and signing a Funding and Program Agreement with the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development (OTTED). Mandated under Florida Statute, this agreement was negotiated by the two entities during the past month in consultation with the Department of Financial Services to ensure public accountability. Now signed, the agreement allows for the $310 million of federal funds appropriated to OTTED to be released to the corporation and provides strong accountability for proper disbursement and oversight of these funds.

"I am very pleased with the diligence, expedience and competence the Corporation has shown to meet the intent and timeline set forth by the Florida Legislature to establish Scripps Florida," said Governor Bush. "Their approach to the tasks assigned them will allow the state's investment in Scripps to be accountable, timely and maximized. I thank Chairman Marshall Criser, Jr., and the entire corporation board for their work so far and urge their continued dedication."

During the meeting, the Corporation also approved an Operating and Funding Agreement governing terms of financial disbursement and performance expectations as intended by the Scripps law. When ultimately signed, the agreement will establish the parameters and performance measures by which the Corporation will oversee the Scripps Florida investment. With today's approval by the Corporation, the Operating and Funding Agreement will be forwarded to Governor Bush, Senate President Jim King and Speaker of the House Johnnie Byrd for their respective 14-day review. Bar no major obstacles, the Corporation has expressed its motivation to sign the approved agreement by the statutorily designated timeframe of January 30, 2004.

"As the state's financial watchdog, I believe clearly defined performance criteria, accountability measures and deliverables are critical to ensuring that the $310 million invested in Scripps meets intended goals, such as jobs created and research grants secured," said Florida's Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who also oversees the state's Department of Financial Services. "I applaud the Governor and the Scripps Funding Corporation for incorporating safeguards to ensure dollars are spent wisely and performance expectations are met."

The Scripps Florida Funding Corporation is a fiduciary control body created by the Florida Legislature to oversee investment and spending of federal funds appropriated to the Scripps Florida initiative. On November 15, 2003, a nine-member board was appointed to the Corporation. The entity was incorporated on December 8, 2003 and held its first organizational meeting on December 16, 2003 in Tallahassee. At that time, the corporation also received $300,000 for its first year's administrative expenses. Since that point, two board meetings have taken place via teleconference (December 29, 2003 and January 6, 2004). Today's meeting took place in West Palm Beach.

In October, Governor Bush announced the proposed TSRI expansion into Florida and signed into law a historic piece of legislation that laid the framework for Scripps to expand its world-renowned scientific research and endeavors into the Sunshine State in November. The bill, passed by the Florida Legislature during special session, provides a one-time investment of $310 million, from federal stimulus monies, that will cover the start-up operations of the Scripps Florida campus during the first seven years. Scripps Florida will create unprecedented economic and educational opportunities in Florida and propel the state to the forefront of biomedical research and discovery.

In addition to the jobs directly created by Scripps Florida, economists estimate there will be an additional 44,000 jobs as a result of the industry clustering that is expected to take place surrounding the Scripps Florida nucleus. That approximation is based on the 499 biotech businesses in San Diego, 80 percent of which are within a three-mile radius of the Scripps facility in La Jolla, as measured by a Price Waterhouse survey conducted by the State of California.

The Scripps Research Institute employs 2,900 at its La Jolla (San Diego), California, facility and is the number one funded research institute by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This premier faculty has been responsible for groundbreaking research in leukemia, ovarian cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, Alzheimer's, and AIDS.

Florida will leverage the Institute's 42-year track record and advances in state-of-the-art technologies to build on the state's current biotech research capabilities.