North Carolina’s Biotechnology Center appears to have avoided a 50 percent cut in its budget, but that victory may be a fleeting one.

The Center also sees a big percentage of its funding switched to “nonrecurring” status in a budget agreement hammered out by Republicans at the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory on Sunday night.

In other words, future support is more at risk.

WRAL”s Mark Binker reports that the budget deal “reduces recurring funding for the Center by 50% or $8.6 million but “provides $4 million in additional nonrecurring funding for FY 2013-14 and FY 2014-15.” The $8.6 million recurs annual unless there is further legislative action, Binker notes.

However, since the $4 million is nonrecurring it is more at risk.

The immediate end result is that the Center’s funding is cut by $4.6 million.

And, going forward after the fiscal 2014-15 fiscal year “it’s budget situation is more precarious.”

WRALTechWire reached out to Biotech Center President Norris Tolson for reaction.

“We will be reviewing the budget,” said Robin Decale, vice president for corporate communications, via email early Monday. “We’ll be glad to talk with you later today.”

[Related news: Biofuels Center funding is terminated; Plus: N.C. Commerce reorganization is OK’d.]

The cuts are not as draconian as first proposed by McCrory, which wanted to cut the budget by 60 percent.

The Senate had talked about a 50 percent slash.

Apparently Biotech Center lobbying efforts paid off in the House, which proposed a 50-percent cut but a matching appropriation in non-recurring funds.

Negotiations left the Center facing a $4.6 million cut. That’s still a substantial reduction of some 25 percent. 

Earlier this month, Tolson told WRALTechWire that the Center, which is the fulcrum for the state’s powerful biotech and life science cluster (third largest in the country), was OK for now.

“The General Assembly understands the importance of the Biotech Center, as the state’s driver for one of the few sectors creating meaningful jobs for North Carolina,” Tolson said. “But we, like everyone else, await the final outcome from these budget deliberations.”

Biotech in the state generates a $59 billion economy and 237,000 direct as well as related jobs, according to the Center.

However, Tolson isn’t assuming the Center’s budget will escape unscathed.

“Like any good business, we’ve talked internally about approaches that we might take at various funding levels,” he explained. “So we have ideas on what we’d have to do without, but we’re not going to speculate on any budget outcome at this point.”

So far, jobs and programs are safe.

“We have not proceeded with any program cuts,” Tolson said. “We maintain a small reserve that allows us to operate in advance of receipts from the General Assembly, such as the situation generated by the continuing resolution passed last week.”

Should the budget cutters prevail, however, Tolson said the Center will have no choice but make a lot of changes.

“We’ll obviously keep our eyes on the discussions in Raleigh as they unfold,” he said, “and act accordingly when the new budget is finally approved.”