Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stem cell bond failure: it was the buildings, stupid [?]

One VC fellow noted of the stem cell bond failure in New Jersey: became a gravy train so that three regions of New Jersey were all being treated to fantastic new buildings and labs. (...)
...politics running up to the level of overly-ambitious predictions that we're told and sold about NJ "investing" in Stem
Cell Research, but we were actually buying was more Class A buildings - perhaps an abundance.

The $450 million bond issue was about funding for buildings at three different locations, but IPBiz is not clear that voters fully understood that aspect. In discussing the last ditch effort to remove the item from the ballot, medicalnewstoday wrote:

According to a ruling that Mercer County, N.J., Superior Court Judge Neil Shuster issued on Monday, a referendum that asks voters to approve borrowing $450 million over 10 years to fund stem cell research in the state must remain on the Nov. 6 ballot, the New York Times reports (Peters, New York Times, 9/25).

In July, New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed a bill authorizing the referendum. The state Assembly in June voted 50-27 and the Senate 31-3 to approve the legislation. If approved by voters, the funds would be used to award grants to institutions -- including colleges, universities, and state and local government agencies -- that conduct research on both adult and human embryonic stem cells, and umbilical cord blood, according to state Rep. Neil Cohen (D). Borrowing for stem cell research could increase the state's debt by as much as $37 million annually, according to a nonpartisan legislative analysis.

See also


The Courier-News had an op-ed piece on 12 Nov 07 which did address the gravy-train aspect of the new buildings of the bond issue. The op-ed noted that in 16 of NJ's 21 counties, the bond issue was rejected. Elsewhere in the Courier-News it was noted that Bridgewater Township had a high voter turnout, unlike elsewhere in NJ.

See Election message lost on the governor including the text:

Gov. Jon S. Corzine admitted voters sent Trenton a strong message about no more massive borrowing, then in the same breath said he will continue with building stem cell research facilities because borrowing for them was approved previously. Huh?


The Statehouse Grand Poobahs were so sure the ballot issue would pass, they scheduled for two days after the election a legislative committee meeting to formally approve borrowing $25 million. That's part of $270 million in borrowing previously approved by the Legislature, not the voters, despite what the state Constitution says about all borrowing having to be approved by the voters.

But what they wanted was to build new facilities in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden to reward the usual suspects with fat contracts.


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