October 28, 2004
Prop. 71: Benefits health, economy
By Steve Westly -- Special To The Bee
On Election Day, Californians can help lead the next revolution in technology - and help our state's economy grow - by voting Yes on Proposition 71, the California Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.
The potential is enormous. More than 100 million Americans suffer from diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, cancer, AIDS and diabetes - diseases that stem-cell therapies might treat and cure. But partisan politics is blocking funding for the most promising areas of stem-cell research.
Proposition 71 would break the political logjam by authorizing $3 billion in tax-free bonds to fund lifesaving stem-cell research at California's top hospitals, universities and medical schools over the next 10 years.
Proposition 71 would improve our economy while protecting our budget. It wouldn't create or increase taxes.
Proposition 71 would defer principal and interest payments for five years, giving time for our state budget picture to improve.
Furthermore, Proposition 71 is our best hope to help cut health care costs. The skyrocketing price of health care now costs Californians more than $110 billion a year.
Even conservative estimates conclude that Proposition 71 would benefit taxpayers and the state budget enormously. A recent study by the nationally respected Analysis Group and Stanford University economist Laurence Baker found the measure would generate from $6.4 billion to $12.6 billion in new state revenues and health care savings. The study also projected that Proposition 71 would generate between 5,000 and 22,000 new jobs each year.
Overall, the study concluded, if Proposition 71 leads to major advances in health care treatments, California could see overall economic returns of more than seven times its cost. That's the kind of investment California can't afford to pass up.
As the state's fiscal watchdog, I believe Proposition 71 is a responsible investment in our future and our health. Not only can California afford Proposition 71, we must make this investment now.
Proposition 71 is a rare opportunity for all of us to come together for the health of Californians and the health of our economy. I strongly urge you to join me in voting Yes on Proposition 71.