by Steven Ertelt
October 5, 2004
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — Unlike advocates of a $3 billion measure to fund unproven embryonic stem cell research with taxpayer dollars, opponents don’t have a huge campaign war chest to tout their side of the story. What they do have is a powerful argument.
Opponents of the proposal say the massive taxpayer-funded program would wreck the state’s tenuous economy and drain an already-overburdened state budget.
The November ballot initiative would authorize $3 billion in tax-exempt bonds to set up the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and fund 10 years of stem-cell research.
But opponents tell Reuters that the bonds could lead to a further decline in California’s credit rating, higher taxes, and a depletion of funds for other state services to pay off the massive debts.
"You’re asking taxpayers to foot the bill for something that well-heeled venture capitalists are unwilling to put their own funds into," Tim Rosales, a spokesman for Doctors, Patients and Taxpayers, told Reuters.
Rosales says the state would be required to pay back $5.4 billion, including debt.
An executive with a company that stores adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood told Reuters he agrees.
"I’m concerned that the public is really not well informed," said Denis Rodgerson, chief executive of stem cell storage firm NeoStem. "This is a huge amount of money for a state that is already financially strapped."
Pro-life organizations, fiscal conservatives, and the Catholic Church are among the opponents of the embryonic stem cell research funding measure.
They say that 50% of the costs for the initiative will go to pay interest on the bonds and that only 30% of the entire funding proposal will actually back the research.
In the only poll on the measure, a California Field Poll showed 45 percent of those 1,034 voters polled were planning to vote "yes" on the measure, while 42 percent were planning to vote "no." Thirteen percent of respondents were undecided.