Saturday, July 28, 2007

New Jersey will have $450 million stem cell bond issue on next ballot

Governor Corzine signed a bill on July 26 which will allow inclusion on the November ballot a measure that would allow the state to borrow $450 million over 10 years to fund stem cell research.

Jeffrey Gold of AP wrote: "This is an investment that has a very clear payback," Corzine said before signing the bond measure.

Gold also noted that opponents argue borrowing money to fund the research would "likely" increase property taxes. A non-partisan legislative analysis estimates the stem cell borrowing would increase state debt by as much as $37 million per year.

The Bond Buyer noted on July 27:

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine yesterday signed off on $450 million of general obligation borrowing for stem cell research, an initiative that will bring the state's total stem -cell bonding capacity to $720 million if passed by voters in the upcoming November election.

The state would then issue the bonds, with proceeds supporting stem cell research grants at higher educational institutions and biomedical laboratories throughout the state. The New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology will allocate the funds.


"New Jersey continues to forge ahead as a pioneer in stem cell research and discovery," Corzine said in a statement. "This ballot initiative represents a landmark economic investment that will create new jobs and spur new business ventures while bringing the potential of revolutionary life-saving treatments and cures to millions afflicted by some of the most devastating diseases and injuries."

The Bond Buyer discussed issues not mentioned in the AP report:

With the state already carrying overall outstanding debt of more than $30 billion, the stem cell bill requires the state treasurer to determine, before going to market, whether New Jersey has the ongoing revenue sources to cover debt service payments on the bonds.

"No bonds shall be issued pursuant to this act unless the state treasurer first certifies that recurring revenues of the state would be available annually in an amount equal to the sum necessary to satisfy the annual debt service obligations related to such bonds," according to the bill.


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