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NJ Gov. Wants Money For Stem Cell Research, Tax Credits

February 27, 2004

"We cannot be satisfied with simply passing stem cell research legislation."

So said New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey during his State of the Budget Address on Tuesday, proposing the state fund research specifically in the controversial area. Stem cell research holds promise for treating and curing a host of devastating diseases and disorders, including spinal cord injury, brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and coronary heart disease. The best source for human stem cells are embryos, which raises ethical questions.

Gov. McGreevey wants the state to make an initial investment of $6.5 million in FY 2005 toward creation of a New Jersey Institute for Stem Cell Research. The proposed center would be run by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. According to news reports, the Governor's plan calls for approximately $25 million in state funds over five years to create the institute. Additional funding would be derived from private and federal sources.

The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer suggest New Jersey would be the first state to financially support stem cell research. Ohio made a $19.5 million commitment to create the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine last summer, however. Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic and the University Hospitals of Cleveland will provide $20 million in matching funds toward that project (see the June 20, 2003, issue of the Digest).

Gov. McGreevey's budget also requested a $20 million, or 50 percent, increase for the state's technology tax credit transfer program. The credit is one of the few in the country that allows eligible biotech or technology businesses to sell their unused net-operating-loss carry forwards and unused R&D tax-credit carry forwards to any corporate taxpayer in the state for at least 75 percent of the value of the tax benefits. They can then use the money raised for working capital to buy equipment or facilities or for other business expenses.

In FY 2005, half of the credits will be dedicated to companies located in new Innovation Zones, Gov. McGreevey says in his address. The governor's budget address is available at: http://www.state.nj.us

New Jersey