Biomedical Initiatives Face Cuts As Governors Seek to Erase Deficits

Governors across the nation are trying to find ways to prevent their state finances from falling further in the red as revenues continue to fall while costs for Medicare and unemployment remain high. Deficit-reduction plans announced in two states seek to delay payments and cut funding to biomedical research initiatives that were established to expand the states’ research capacity and generate wealth.

Connecticut Aiming to close a deficit of nearly $470 million in the current fiscal year, Gov. Jodi Rell announced a deficit-mitigation plan that includes delaying payments of $10 million to the state’s Stem Cell Research Fund and $6 million to the Biomedical Research Trust Fund. The Stem Cell Fund was established in 2005 with a budget surplus of $20 million to be used in fiscal years 2006 and 2007 and supplemented with $10 million per year from the Tobacco Settlement Fund through 2015 (see the May 30, 2005 issue of the Digest).

The Biomedical Research Trust Fund was created in 2000 to provide grants to eligible institutions for biomedical research in the fields of heart disease, cancer, and other tobacco related diseases with disbursements from the Tobacco Settlement Fund. Gov. Rell will call the General Assembly into special session on Dec. 15 to consider the deficit-reduction plan, which also proposes cuts to state agency budgets and more than $116 million in program reductions that require legislative approval.

More information is available at: http://www.ct.gov/governorrell/lib/governorrell/defmit_plan_24nov09.pdf.

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