Remember just last week when New Jersey’s voters defeated a bond issue that would have permitted the nearly-bankrupt state to borrow $450 million for stem cell research? Surely you remember it. It was in all the papers.
Paul Mulshine reports in his article entitled “Stem Cell Switcheroo” that, despite strong voter opposition, the Governor and the State Legislature intend to go ahead with the construction of stem cell research facilities at a cost of $270 million. How can this be? The voters vote against this just last week?
Turns out, we’ve been had yet again.
Paul Mulshine states:
Wasn’t the vote Tuesday a simple, yes-or-no question on whether the stem-cell institute should be built? Nope. When you read the fine print [***] on that ballot measure, you find that it was not designed to raise money for the construction. The borrowing was for the institute’s operating expenses over the next 10 years.
The $270 million for construction is slated to come out of a different bonding measure, one that you never got to vote on. The Corzine administration plans to pay for the buildings with so-called “contract debt,” debt cleverly structured in such a way that it does not need voter approval.
Well, isn’t that just terrific. It turns out that when the majority of voters voted NO on that question, they were only voting on borrowing money to cover the expenses of funding research projects at research facilities that were going to be built anyway with $270 million of borrowed money – money that was borrowed without having to seek voter approval.
Of course, this begs the question of just how the research will be funded in these spiffy new stem cell research buildings. Hang on to your wallet!
Just one more reason for people to vote with their feet to escape this political hell hole.
*** Here is the exact wording of the ballot measure:
Shall the “New Jersey Stem Cell Research Bond Act,” which authorizes the State to issue bonds in the amount of $450 million for grants to fund “stem cell research projects,” as defined in the act, at institutions of higher education and other entities in the State conducting scientific and medical research, and providing the ways and means to pay the interest on the debt and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof, provided that recurring revenues of the State are certified by the State Treasurer to be available in an amount equal to the sum necessary to satisfy the annual debt service obligations related to such bonds, be approved?
The whole thing makes me sick.