The Illinois Leader broke this story: Comptroller Dan Hynes is pitching a 2006 referendum to fund stem cell research from a tax on elective surgeries.
At first, this looks like a great strategy for Democrats in the 2006 election (which is going to be a challenging year for Ds, due to alienation with Governor Blagojevich among lots of the base). If the stem cell referendum in California (Proposition 71) is any indication (which passed 59% to 41% two weeks ago), this one will pass big. And since it will be associated with the Democratic Party, it will help Democratic candidates who endorse it and hurt Republican candidates who oppose it.
This might not be true in the eight or nine counties far Downstate south of Springfield that supported Keyes over Obama, but in most of Illinois, I think that stem cell research is a winner.
It looks like Comptroller Hynes is working closely with the California people: if approved, an Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute will be formed (just like the California Regenerative Medicine Institute now formed from the passage of Proposition 71).
Of course, this would be great for our economy as well. And I'm just not convinced that life begins as an embryo. I think the culture of life means that we make life better. Curing diseases makes life better.