Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cancer Research Goes To Texas Voters

On the November ballot this year will be a $3 billion bond issue. This is the cancer research bill that will provide $300 million per year in funding for cancer research in Texas. It was either that or sell the Texas Lottery.

No joke. Recall way back when Governor Perry had an idea, a really bad idea, to sell the Texas Lottery for $14 billion in order to finance cancer research and maintain its annual $1 billion contribution to fund education in Texas?

He proposed it in his February 6 State of the State address.

“I am also proposing a source of funding that does not dry up with time or cost the state general revenue, unlike a bond proposal.”

“Conservative estimates tell us that the state lottery could be sold to the private sector for $14 billion. Using these resources, we could create a $2.7 billion endowment for the uninsured that generates close to a quarter billion dollars in interest payments every year. We could also create a $3 billion cancer research trust fund that would annually generate more than a quarter billion dollars each year to the fight against cancer. And the rest of the money - more than $8 billion - could be dedicated to a public education endowment that would provide about $800 million a year for public education.”

But Texas lawmakers howled on both sides of the aisle. Democrats doubted that the $14 billion, split up into 3 pieces, would be enough to fund these three undertakings as he was using an unreasonable 9% rate of return.

9% is possible only in the best of all possible years.

The other side protested that they didn’t want private industry to take on the Texas Lottery as they might be too over zealous in trying to turn a profit. State Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) was afraid that slot machines would appear in 7-11s statewide.

So HB 2973, authored by Bonnen, crashed and burned in committee.

Leaving us of course, HB 14, a bill with bipartisan support. But the kind of bill that, according to Perry, is bad because it would “cost the state general revenue”.

But now Perry is effusive in his regard for this bill.
“The pain and suffering caused for so many for so long is what makes this a historic day, as I sign legislation that gives us great hope we will one day find a cure for cancer. With my signature, and voter approval of cancer research bonds this November, we can put an additional $3 billion into the fight against cancer to fund promising projects, ensure institutional collaboration, and develop promising therapies."
That’s what it’s all about Gov. It’s about good government. It’s about funding research to help people. It’s not about selling off bits and pieces of Texas, whether it’s a giant cash cow or a piece of state park land, to moneyed interests gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion.

Oh, and by the way, I think I am going to vote FOR this bond issue. Particularly because in looking at the bill’s text, there is nothing in it that prevents the state-sponsored cancer research teams from using any method or means at their disposal to find a cure for various cancers. Including embryonic stem cells

. . . yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We oughta start calling him "Fire Sale" Perry. What's next, sell off the Alamo to Mexican investors so that Texans have to pay through the nose to see it? That's like selling off your furniture to buy food--a rather short-sighted solution.