Supporters of Ballot Initiative To Fund Stem Cell Research Aim To Raise $20 Million for Campaign
Supporters of Proposition 71, which would raise an average of $295 million annually for 10 years to promote stem cell research through the issue of state bonds, hope to raise $20 million for the campaign leading up to the Nov. 2 election, the Sacramento Bee reports (Smith, Sacramento Bee, 7/10). The measure would provide funds for a new stem cell research center at a University of California campus, as well as grants and loans for laboratory projects at other colleges. State analysts say the measure would cost a total of $6 billion, including interest (California Healthline, 7/6). According to the Bee, "high-profile partners" of Menlo Park-based venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers and their spouses are among those who have donated more than $400,000 to the initiative. Controller Steve Westly (D) said, "Stem cell research is the next big thing. I think the guys at Kleiner just want to make sure we have the best and brightest researchers at Stanford and [the UC-San Francisco] and [UC-Davis] and wherever else." He added, "I don't think Kleiner has any stem cell research firms in the pipeline. This is all 10 years out or 20 years out." Westly said he has helped raise about $1 million for the campaign in favor of Proposition 71, adding, "This is about as good government and altruistic a thing as you will ever see."
In related news, Assembly member Darrel Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said he is looking for donors to contribute to the campaign in support of Proposition 63, which would increase by 1% the state personal income tax on individuals whose annual incomes exceed $1 million to finance an expansion of mental health services, according to the Bee (Sacramento Bee, 7/10). The measure would raise an estimated $700 million annually to care for people with severe mental illnesses (California Healthline, 7/6). The Bee reports that Steinberg hopes high-income individuals "with a family connection to mental illness" will contribute to the campaign. The Service Employees International Union has contributed. Noting Schwarzenegger's stated opposition to tax increases, Steinberg said, "At this point I hope ... that (Schwarzenegger's) going to stay out of this" (Sacramento Bee, 7/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.