USTAR is on track, and, in fact, ahead of projections in some cases, to fulfill the promises outlined in the original 2005 Prospectus. The second part of the audit (Chapters 3-6) deals with administrative and governance matters. We take the audit findings very seriously and have taken steps to deal with each issue raised and each recommendation made. In some cases, the legislative audit staff did not receive requested documentation of USTAR activities and operations in a timely fashion. USTAR management and staff, with the assistance of Tanner LLC, have subsequently researched and gathered key information verifying USTAR’s performance and administrative activities. We regret that the legislative auditors did not receive all of the needed data and information. As to governance, we believe the GA has been actively involved and has provided close oversight, direction and approval of USTAR activities. In the spirit of accepting criticism constructively, we have assessed and reviewed the legislative audit report’s findings and recommendations. Although we may disagree as to the tone and severity of some of the legislative audit report’s findings, we are pleased to implement the recommendations. We feel we have already met, or have taken significant steps to meet, each of the 15 recommendations. The most effective and objective way to measure USTAR’s performance is to compare the actual results to the 2005 USTAR Prospectus (the Prospectus), where the original performance measurements were established. Throughout USTAR’s seven-year life, the GA has measured progress and objectives against the 2005 projections (Prospectus),
as adjusted to reflect actual legislative funding.
The original projections were based on $25 million annual on-going state appropriations for research. Actual research funding has averaged roughly $17.7 million per year, including $33 million in one-time federal ARRA stimulus funds in 2010 and 2011. Total legislative funding for the entire USTAR program, including outreach, has averaged $20.7 million annually. Thus, metrics like external funding, USTAR companies, jobs created, and employment earnings must reflect the reduced funding levels.
GA Response to the Legislative Audit
USTAR is on schedule and is fulfilling its promises.
USTAR is well-governed.
USTAR has taken necessary steps to improve management practices and reporting.
New businesses with great potential are being created.
The Legislature’s USTAR investment is being highly leveraged and should continue. The result will be excellent private sector jobs and increased tax revenues.