I Told You So!

It’s time to seriously discuss the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, also known as CIRM (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Millstones and SCA 7).

When Proposition 71 was on the ballot in 2004, I was one of the three signatories to write the argument against this ballot measure and campaigned against it. So let’s see what I said and wrote some 13 years ago. Here are three published interviews and a copy of the ballot argument for a refresher course.

“It’s financially unsound,” Moorlach said in a Friday interview. “It doesn’t have a guaranteed revenue stream other than the state budget to pay off the bonds. The state’s budget as of yesterday is already under water by $8 billion. To add another $3 billion over 10 years is poor stewardship.”
Arguments that government funding is needed to do research private companies aren’t willing to tackle are a “rationalization,” Moorlach said.
“If the pharmaceutical companies conclude it is too long a time or there is a high risk that we won’t see a benefit, that should be telling the rest of us something really loud and clear,” Moorlach said.
(“California’s ambitious embryonic research program gets going.” North County Times, December 19, 2004)
— — -
“We’re adding debt when our state is in the worst shape it’s ever been historically,” Moorlach said. “If the research does not produce any royalties or residuals, then the payments have to come out of the general fund. Most of the patents on stem cell research have already been pulled. We’re not talking about anything dramatic here . . . Some of the holders of the patents are the biggest funders of Prop 71, so it’s sort of a big money grab.”
(“Prop 71 opposition opinions vary — While churches oppose the proposition for several reasons, Orange County treasurer’s resistance to the measure is purely fiscal.” Daily Pilot, October 26, 2004)
— — -
Orange County Treasurer John Moorlach: “I see it as another financial boondoggle.”
George Skelton, columnist for the LA Times, “Is Stem Cell Research the Next Big Thing for California?”, October 14, 2004

Thirteen years later, and my fears were realized. CIRM did not generate any revenues and left the taxpayers holding the debt “bag,” with payments in the 2017–18 Budget of some $728 million!! Can you imagine how many roads that could fix. This time I’m saying it: I told you so!

The San Francisco Business Times provides some amazing news below. Miracle of miracles, a royalty check will finally be forwarded to the State of California. It breaks my heart to see the public sector abused like this. False promises. Personal enrichment. No accountability. Leaving innocent taxpayers holding the bag. Wait. Innocent taxpayers. Not really. They voted for Proposition 71.

Democratic leaders in the Legislature want to force drug companies to divulge price increases with SB 17. Its ironic that its own “lab” couldn’t get anything accomplished in 13 years, but the monopoly party has the audacity to rail that private sector pharmaceutical companies are gouging patients. And, even more absurd, the Democrats want to extend this heart-tugging financial boondoggle that is compensating former legislators with massive salaries. You can’t make this stuff up.

Let’s hope a crack journalistic investigative reporter team starts to peel this onion.