This is great news: The “blank check” mentality finally hit a wall as New Jersey’s voters said a big no to borrowing $450 million for human cloning and stem cell research. From the story:
New Jersey voters rejected the state’s plan to borrow $450 million over 10 years to finance stem cell research, one of the most closely watched questions on state ballots Tuesday...With 95 percent of the vote counted, 53 percent of voters opposed the New Jersey measure, one of the nation’s most ambitious public efforts to fund the research.And the New York Times added this relevant note:
Multimillionaire Gov. Jon Corzine campaigned heavily for the measure and spent $200,000 of his own money on TV ads for it. He argued the funding would help find cures for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia and multiple sclerosis while also luring leading scientists and research firms to the state. But the measure was opposed by anti-abortion activists, conservatives and the Roman Catholic Church because it would pay for research that destroys human embryos and would increase state debt.
“It’s a reinforcement of our values and a rebuke to the governor,” said Steve Lonegan, a conservative Republican who led opposition to the question. “The taxpayers are saying enough is enough.”...
Senate President Richard J. Codey, a Democrat and leading stem cell supporter, pinned the defeat on chronic state fiscal problems and mounting state debt. “The taxpayers of New Jersey are not against stem cell research,” he said. “It’s clear. The message we’re getting is put your fiscal house in order and then do these things.”
The sound defeat, coupled with the failure of another initiative that would have set aside more money for property tax rebates, marked the first time in 17 years that voters in New Jersey had defeated any statewide ballot question.
Maybe CURES! CURES! CURES! is finally losing its political potency. Maybe voters are finally seeing through the hype, obfuscation, and mendacity. And maybe, just maybe, this can lead to both ethical sanity and fiscal responsibility in biotechnology. In any event, whoopee!