California Cited as National Model for Stem Cell Funding
Advocates for state-financed stem cell research in New Jersey blame last week's failed ballot measure in the state on a lack of campaigning and fundraising, unlike in California where a lengthy and expensive effort to pass a similar measure succeeded three years ago, the New York Times reports.
California voters in 2004 approved $3 billion in state funds to finance stem cell research -- the largest effort nationwide.
Voters in New Jersey last week rejected a similar measure that would have earmarked $450 million in state bonds for research. The measure was defeated by 53% to 47%.
Advocates for California's measure staged a two-year campaign that netted $30 million, compared with a two-month campaign by supporters in New Jersey that raised about $600,000.
Christopher Scott, director of Stanford University's Program on Stem Cells and Society, said that unlike California, New Jersey did not have a unified front in support of the measure. A coalition of fiscal and religious conservative groups opposed the measure.
According to a July poll, almost 70% of New Jersey residents favored stem cell research, but only 40% supported financing the research with state funds.
The state has already broken ground on a $270 million stem cell research center. New Jersey Gov. John Corzine (D), who supported the ballot measure, said he expects lawmakers to seek a smaller amount of funding for research (Jones/Fahim, New York Times, 11/9).