The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine’s (created by California’s embryonic stem cell initiative Prop. 71) appetite for
The California stem cell agency plans to spend $15.7 million next year for its day-to-day operations, up 28 percent from this year's estimated spending of $12.3 million.
The $3.4 million increase is for the fiscal year that begins in 10 days. The hefty hike in spending comes at a time when the rest of state government is mired in a financial crisis that shows no signs of ending. CIRM's funds are provided, however, from state bonds – money borrowed by the state – and cannot be touched by the governor or the legislature under the terms of Prop. 71, which created the agency.
Because CIRM's budget consists of borrowed cash, the ultimate cost of its operations will be substantially higher than the nominal figures provided by the agency. CIRM has access to $3 billion in bonds. With interest, that translates to roughly a $6 billion bill for the state of California. In other words, the agency's operations will really cost nearly $32 million – not $15.7 million. And the $490,008 salary of CIRM President Alan Trounson will actually cost the people of California something a hair shy of $1 million.....
The biggest increase in the budget is for salaries and benefits – a 22 percent ($1.5 million) increase from about $7 million to $8.5 million. The agency, which now has 45 employees, plans to hire five more persons in the coming year. The budget documents do not discuss hiring scenarios if legislation passes that would remove the 50 person cap at CIRM. Increases in state-mandated benefits amount to $400,000. Assuming an average of 47.5 employees for the year, salaries and benefits will consume $178,589 for each staffer.