Friday, June 19, 2009

Klein's Misguided Budget Puffery

SAN DIEGORobert Klein, chairman of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, is a man who should know his numbers.

He is a real estate investment banker and sometimes even seems to revel in the arcane world of state bond financing.

But he persisted at this week's CIRM board meeting here, along with CIRM president Alan Trounson, in trying to characterize CIRM's budget for the coming fiscal year as a 3 percent decrease.

The reality is that it is a 25 increase over what is being spent by CIRM this year.

The peg on which Klein hangs his dubious, PR spin is that the budget is 3 percent less than the unrealistic spending plan proposed 12 months ago. But Klein's posturing defies well-accepted accounting and budget standards for describing year-to-year budget changes.

It is difficult to understand why Klein is trying characterize CIRM's spending plan as something it isn't. One can dispute some of the expenditures, but the total amount the agency is spending on operations is not excessive. Indeed, it may even be too little, as suggested by some CIRM directors.

Klein's misguided puffery does not serve him or CIRM well. It only generates skepticism about other CIRM actions and creates suspicion that the agency may be engaged in activities that cannot stand the light of day. Sphere: Related Content

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