Posts Tagged ‘budget’

State Dems want to legalize medical marijuana to help plug budget gap

In Medical Marijuana on July 24, 2010 at 7:00 pm

State Dems want to legalize medical marijuana to help plug budget gap

BY Glenn Blain


Tuesday, March 23rd 2010, 4:00 AM

Containers of medical marijuana. State pols believe legalizing medical pot would help fix the budget.

Containers of medical marijuana. State pols believe legalizing medical pot would help fix the budget.

They want to legalize medical marijuana as a way to generate nearly $15 million in licensing fees to help plug the state’s $9 billion budget gap.

“It is the right thing to do and there is revenue attached to it,” said state Sen. Thomas Duane (D-Manhattan). Duane and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) are behind the plan to make it legal for folks with serious medical woes to score limited amounts of weed from state-certified distributors – or grow it themselves.

The Senate still needs to approve the provision, though Dems included revenue projections from the sale of medical marijuana in their 2010-2011 budget proposal. “It’s ludicrous,” needled Sen. Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn).

Golden and other Republicans said the Democrats’ budget proposal is laden with one-time-only gimmicks, including raising $700 million through the refinancing of tobacco bonds first issued in 2003.

The $136.2 billion plan contains most of the spending cuts proposed by Gov. Paterson, but rejects new taxes on cigarettes and sugary sodas. Paterson was pleased the Senate accepted his cuts, but worried their revenues were unrealistic.

“One of the things we’re going to have to avoid in this process is creating revenues that aren’t real,” Paterson said.

Paterson said he was encouraged that Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada (D-Bronx) has relented on his opposition to placing tolls on the East River bridges to ease the MTA’s budget woes.

“Just the fact that he and other senators are considering it is very helpful,” Paterson said.

Meanwhile yesterday, a coalition of good government groups reported that most New Yorkers – including city residents – aren’t getting their fair share of pork projects tucked into the budget.

The groups found that residents who live in 49 of the city’s 64 Assembly districts, and 11 of the city’s 26 Senate districts, receive less than the “fair share” or the average-per-district amount doled out on member items.

“The guys who get the most money are the leaders, the ones who hold all the political power,” said Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group.

ALBANY – Senate Democrats are counting on a pot of gold!

via State Dems want to legalize medical marijuana to help plug budget gap.


Investors.com – California’s Proposition 71 Failure

In BUSINESS OF STEM CELLS on February 2, 2010 at 3:43 am

California’s Proposition 71 Failure

Posted 01/12/2010 06:36 PM ET

Bioethics: Five years after a budget-busting $3 billion was allocated to embryonic stem cell research, there have been no cures, no therapies and little progress. So supporters are embracing research they once opposed.

California’s Proposition 71 was intended to create a $3 billion West Coast counterpart to the National Institutes of Health, empowered to go where the NIH could not — either because of federal policy or funding restraints on biomedical research centered on human embryonic stem cells.

Supporters of the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, passed in 2004, held out hopes of imminent medical miracles that were being held up only by President Bush’s policy of not allowing federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) beyond existing stem cell lines and which involved the destruction of embryos created for that purpose.

Five years later, ESCR has failed to deliver and backers of Prop 71 are admitting failure. The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state agency created to, as some have put it, restore science to its rightful place, is diverting funds from ESCR to research that has produced actual therapies and treatments: adult stem cell research. It not only has treated real people with real results; it also does not come with the moral baggage ESCR does.

To us, this is a classic bait-and-switch, an attempt to snatch success from the jaws of failure and take credit for discoveries and advances achieved by research Prop. 71 supporters once cavalierly dismissed. We have noted how over the years that when funding was needed, the phrase “embryonic stem cells” was used. When actual progress was discussed, the word “embryonic” was dropped because ESCR never got out of the lab.

Prop 71 had a 10-year mandate and by 2008, as miracle cures looked increasingly unlikely, a director was hired for the agency with a track record of bringing discoveries from the lab to the clinic. “If we went 10 years and had no clinical treatments, it would be a failure,” says the institute’s director, Alan Trounson, a stem cell pioneer from Australia. “We need to demonstrate that we are starting a whole new medical revolution.”

The institute is attempting to do that by funding adult stem cell research. Nearly $230 million was handed out this past October to 14 research teams. Notably, only four of those projects involve embryonic stem cells.

Among the recipients, the Los Angeles Times reports, is a group from UCLA and Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles that hopes to cure patients with sickle cell disease by genetically modifying their own blood-forming stem cells to produce healthy red blood cells. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will use their grant to research injecting heart-attack patients with concentrated amounts of their own cardiac stem cells that naturally repair heart tissue.

Dr. Bernadine Healy, director of the National Institutes of Health under Bush 41, wrote in her U.S. News & World Report column recently that “embryonic stem cells, once thought to hold the cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes, are obsolete.”

Even worse, they can be dangerous.

They are difficult to control, to coax into the specific type of tissue desired. Unlike adult stem cells taken from a patient’s own body, ES cells require the heavy use of immunosuppressive drugs. Their use can lead to a form of tumor called a teratoma.


…It is ESCR researchers who have politicized science and stood in the way of real progress. We are pleased to see California researchers beginning to put science in its rightful place.

via Investors.com – California’s Proposition 71 Failure.

Supporters of embryonic stem cell research seek to keep bans out of House budget | Postcards

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 17, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Supporters of embryonic stem cell research seek to keep bans out of House budget

By Corrie MacLaggan | Friday, April 17, 2009, 10:24 AM

Supporters of embryonic stem cell research this morning called on the Texas House not to adopt budget language that would ban use of state money for the research. Such language is in the Senate version of the budget.

At a Capitol press conference, Emma Garrett, a volunteer with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said she hopes embryonic stem cell research could help find a cure for diabetes. Her 2-year-old daughter, Sarah, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before her first birthday.

“For me, it’s incredibly urgent that a cure for diabetes is found,” Garrett said.

State Reps. Ellen Cohen, D-Houston; Mark Homer, D-Paris; and Rick Hardcastle, R-Vernon, said that budget amendments aren’t the right place to make policy on stem cell research.

“There’s been no testimony, no input from institutions and no opportunity to hear from the public,” Cohen said.

The House is debating the budget today. For Hardcastle, who has multiple sclerosis, the fight to keep stem cell language out of the budget will be personal, he said.

“My goal today is to make sure that none of these harmful amendments get on,” he said.

via Supporters of embryonic stem cell research seek to keep bans out of House budget | Postcards.

Will Controversial Stem Cell Rider Derail Senate Budget vote?

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on April 2, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Sen. Steve Ogden, a Republican from Texas, has potentially derailed not only government funding for embryonic stem cell research, but also has a attempted to derail President Obama's $3.6 trillion budget

Will Controversial Stem Cell Rider Derail Senate Budget vote?

Thursday, 02 Apr 2009

Jacksonville – Sen. Steve Ogden, a Republican from Texas, has potentially derailed not only government funding for embryonic stem cell research, but also has a attempted to derail President Obama’s $3.6 trillion budget. The rider states “No funds appropriated under this act shall be used in conjunction with or to support research which involves the destruction of a human embryo.”

The rider was passed by the Senate Finance Committee 6-5, with some members absent. The Senate is debating the budget and as of the time of this writing there is not news on whether it has passed with the addition of the stem cell rider.

President Obama had reversed George W. Bush’s executive order banning embryonic stem cell research. The controversial medical research involves using stem cells from embryos donated by parents who had In Vitro Fertilization and has extra embryos which otherwise would be destroyed. For many parents, donating these embryos to science makes them feel good. Others actually pay to have the embryos frozen forever, or allow them to be “adopted” by others for IVF.

Stem cells based medical research, including adult stem cells as well as embryonic stem cells are thought to hold the potential to treat or cure many diseases including Deafness, Paralysis, Diabetes, and Crohn’s Disease. When President Obama reversed Bush’s executive order, the NIH (National Institutes of Health) was given 120 days to come up with a set of guidelines for any Federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Since these guidelines are not yet completed, no new embryonic stem cell research is specifically marked for funding in this year’s budget and this budget rider would make it impossible for any of the health agencies to make further determination of with funds allocated in this years budget.

Some of the issues the National Institute of Health will consider when writing guidelines for the use of embryonic stem cells in research are making sure the parents who donate embryos sign informed consent forms to show that they understand and approve of the research methodology. It is speculated that there may be additional language added to the guidelines restricting any embryos used to the products on fertility treatments. As well, it is expected that there be some separation set up between doctors who do fertility treatments and doctors who do stem cell research, to limit any conflict of interest.

Many in the medical and patient advocacy communities are very concerned that the budget will pass with this rider slipped in by a largely absent subcommittee. It is speculated that Sen. Ogden, who is said to be in his last term in office, is attempting to derail the Democrat’s budget vote by adding this controversial rider.


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