October 23rd, 2007
Early voting opened Monday for the Texas election, which consists of a number of ballot initiatives. I’m planning to go vote tomorrow in favor of proposition 15, which creates the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorizes $3B of general obligation bonds over 10 years to fund cancer research and prevention in Texas.
Why am I voting to spend tax money on this? Federal expenditures on cancer research are decreasing for the first time since Nixon declared a war on cancer. Texas loses over $30B annually in direct and indirect expenses on cancer. More than 95,000 Texans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and over 37,000 Texans will die from cancer this year.
I’ve heard basically two different arguments against this proposition. One is we shouldn’t be spending tax money on cures that might make money for private companies. I believe the money saved in direct and indirect costs alone justifies this effort. Another argument is that approving a new cancer drug is prohibitively expensive and this initiative will “only” pay for about 2 new drugs. This assumes that the CPRI would absorb all of the costs of new drug approval. This should not be the case as a pharmaceutical company wishing to patent and sell a new drug should absorb the bulk of the cost. The CPRI should be funding research into causes, cures, and prevention.
You can find early voting locations in Travis County if you live there (as I do), or learn about where to find your Texas polling place from the Texas Secretary of State.