by Steven Ertelt
January 4, 2005
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — In his State of the State address, acting New Jersey Governor Richard Codey plans to ask for state lawmakers to spend $500 million on embryonic stem cell research to help the state compete with a $6 billion tax-funded plan approved by California voters in November.
Codey, a longtime stem cell research backer, wants the state to step up its funding for the Stem Cell Institute of New Jersey, the facility expected to be built in New Brunswick and championed by embattled former Governor Jim McGreevy.
Although details are still in the works, a Newark Star-Ledger report says Cody’s plan calls for using $200 million in untapped bond money to pay for part of the package.
The plan would also include a November 2005 ballot proposal asking voters to authorize issuing more bonds to raise $30 million per year over 10 years for long-term funding for the institute.
Assemblyman Neil Cohen told the Star-Ledger he has been working closely with Governor Codey to craft the proposal. He said it is modeled after California’s Proposition 71, but reworked to reduce much of the bureaucracy associated with it.
Cohen said he would push for even more funding than the $500 the governor is recommending. He wants $1 billion to fund the controversial research.
However, other lawmakers concerned about the state’s debt load say that may be unwise and Cody has said such a high figure is "not practical."
In December, Codey said he is hoping to persuade nearby states to join in a three-state coalition promoting embryonic stem cell research. He proposed a joint embryonic stem cell initiative involving his home state, along with Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Pro-life groups in Pennsylvania indicated they would fight the proposal because it would involve research that destroys human life.
Embryonic stem cell research has, so far, yielded little in the way of results. Bioethicists also oppose it on ethical grounds, since it involves the killing of living human embryos.
On the other hand, the use of adult stem cells has already produced more than 120 treatments for various ailments and diseases.