Senate panel seeks cuts in stem cell research

General Assembly 2009

March 25, 2009|By Julie Bykowicz

Senators on a budget subcommittee proposed on Tuesday reducing money for stem cell research - one of several differences from what their counterparts in the House of Delegates recommended. The House's full budget committee wants to keep $18.4 million in funding for the research, while the Senate's budget subcommittee on education suggested cutting stem cell grants to $5 million.

But senators asked to leave more in the coffers of the University System of Maryland than delegates recommended last week. The Senate subcommittee sought to cut about $5.6 million from the system's general fund and $4 million more from its reserves (for a total of $24 million from the reserve fund this year); the House committee wants about $11 million in general fund cuts and $10 million more from reserves (for $30 million overall). A larger reserve fund, system officials say, leads to a better credit rating and cheaper borrowing costs.

The 141-member House planned to take up the budget Wednesday, and the Senate's full budget committee will review that chamber's plan later this week. The two chambers must work out their differences before the legislative session ends next month.

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