Cash and cancer

Texas voters will decide Nov. 6, in voting on Proposition 15, whether to allow the state to borrow up to $300 million in bonds for cancer research each year for a decade. The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute, created during the last legislative session, would use funds to make grants to public or private institutions, state universities and medical schools.

Critics say: Texans should not have to foot the bill for a possible cure for cancer -- a goal they believe is far-fetched anyway -- from which those far beyond the state's borders would ultimately benefit. They also question why the state should pay the interest on the general obligation bonds instead of simply funding the project through the biennial budget.

Proponents say: The institute could make the state a global leader in cancer research and create high-paying research jobs. They also say the grants could lead to income from royalties, patents and licenses resulting from projects funded by state grants. Advocates favor funding the institute through bonds because it would be a more reliable revenue source, protected from the whims of lawmakers in future legislative sessions.

We say: Texas is attempting to build its future on five key economic sectors: biotechnology and life sciences; aerospace and defense; energy; advanced technology and manufacturing; and communications technology. The institute would be an inspired addition to the state's already impressive cluster of biotechnology assets and a wise investment in economic development -- as well as a laudable contribution to the well-being of humanity.

The Star-Telegram Editorial Board recommends approval of Proposition 15 on the constitutional amendment ballot.

Proposition 15

On the ballot: "The constitutional amendment requiring the creation of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas and authorizing the issuance of up to $3 billion in bonds payable from the general revenues of the state for research in Texas to find the causes of and cures for cancer."