Op-Ed

Stem cell injection

At a time of budget crisis, Proposition 14 commits California to spending $5 billion (plus interest) that we don’t have, on a bureaucracy we don’t need, in pursuit of cures no one can guarantee. 

Specifically, Prop. 14 would refinance the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), also known as the state stem cell agency. CIRM was established by a 2004 proposition and has essentially run out of money. By law, it has a very specific governance structure that effectively isolates it from legislative oversight, and gives most of the seats on its governing board to representatives of the research organizations that receive its grants.

Let’s be clear about what this means. First: CIRM is funded by money derived from state bond sales. Repayments on this debt come straight out of the state general fund — before a penny can be spent on teachers’ salaries, fire fighting, housing, or anything else.

Second: Despite CIRM being a publicly funded state agency, our elected officials have no say over how it is run, how it spends money, or who makes these decisions.

Third:... see more