by Steven Ertelt
August 3, 2005
Trenton, NJ (LifeNews.com) — Acting New Jersey Gov. Richard Codey has shrunk the size of his proposal for use state taxpayer dollars for embryonic stem cell research. Yesterday, he announced that that $10.5 million in state funds would be made available — a far cry from the $380 million he first proposed.
The amount is hidden in a state budget that took effect on July 1 and is even far less than the $150 million state lawmakers were proposing as a compromise for simply building the Stem Cell Institute that Cody pushed during the budget negotiations in June. Once completed it would be based in New Brunswick.
Election year politics and a budget crunch made state lawmakers wary of spending so much on the unproven research, though the issue could come up during the lame duck session following November’s elections.
In a telephone interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper, Codey said the $10.5 million "shows that we’re still moving forward and that we’re still a player in this industry throughout the country."
"I’m hopeful both pieces of legislation — the [$230 million] bond referendum and the money for the building — will be successful in the lame duck," he added.
Neither the state House nor the Senate voted on the $230 million proposal for a bond referendum to build the state’s stem cell research center. Pro-life groups have said they would take such legislation to court.
According to the Inquirer, $5.5 million of the $10.5 million package will go towards building the center and the remainder will be used for grants for scientists. Applications will be mailed this month and grants awarded by the end of the year.
Codey’s proposal also upsets many in the scientific and medical communities.
Dr. Aulita Eck, an internal medicine specialist, says, "There are hundreds and hundreds of uses of adult or non-embryonic stem cells. Why [Codey] would be pouring our good, hard-earned New Jersey tax dollars into embryonic stem cell research is beyond me."
Marie Tasy, director of New Jersey Right to Life added that "embryonic stem cell research has not yielded one cure."
New Jersey faces a $4 billion deficit and that was on the minds of many lawmakers when addressing the research funding request.
A January poll by Quinnipiac University found that 68 percent of New Jersey residents back stem cell research in general, but only 47 percent support using taxpayer funds to pay for it.
Related web sites:
New Jersey Right to Life – https://www.njrtl.org