by Steven Ertelt
November 1, 2006
Sacramento, CA (LifeNews.com) — The statewide agency set up to distribute the billions of dollars California voters approved for human cloning and embryonic stem cell research still hasn’t received the $150,000 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised. The governor pledged the money to help it meet operating expenses while it defense itself from two lawsuits.
The governor granted the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine the $150K loan in July but the money still hasn’t arrived because of bureaucratic red tape and election-year busyness.
The governor made the announcement the day after President Bush vetoed a federal measure that would have forced taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to help a single patient.
Members of CIRM praised Schwarzenegger and were told to expect the money by the end of August.
But California Department of Finance spokesman H.D Palmer told the Santa Maria Times newspaper, "This is a unique and extremely complicated financial transaction with a lot of moving parts."
"It has taken a little bit longer than anticipated, but nobody has been slow on this," Palmer added.
The loan can’t be finalized until state Treasurer Phil Angelides, Schwarzenegger’s Democratic opponent in the gubernatorial race, convenes a meeting to approve it and he hasn’t yet scheduled a meeting.
Other state officials, however, told the newspaper that the hold up is because they are working out a repayment schedule with several nonprofit groups that are contributing $14 million of the funds the governor approved.
A treasurer’s office spokesman told the Times that the process is expected to conclude so the money can be given to the agency by the end of the month.
CIRM was created after state voters approved Proposition 71 in 2004, which will allow it to borrow $3 billion to finance projects. But the issuance of bonds for fundraising has been halted because two lawsuits have been filed against the agency saying it is violating state laws.
The groups said it violated the state constitution because it created a publicly funded agency that was not "under the exclusive management and control" of the state.
California Superior Court Judge Bonnie Sabraw in April ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show the proposition is "clearly, positively and unmistakably unconstitutional," but her ruling has been appealed.
Earlier this month, CIRM unveiled the plan on Tuesday showing its plans over the next 10 years.
The plan only suggests that the research will enter into clinical trials and other research will remain in progress. In essence, the panel indicated no new medical therapies will result from the embryonic stem cell research it plans to fund with the huge sum of tax money.
Dale Carlson, spokesperson for the panel, defended the lack of results in the plan saying "this field is really in its infancy."
Others say the plan shows no cures for diseases because it focuses too heavily on embryonic stem cell research while the use of adult stem cells has already produced dozens of treatments and possible cures.
The plan hasn’t been finalized and must still be approved by the institute’s 29-member governing board, which is expected in December.