Thursday, May 23, 2013

California Stem Cell Agency: 5 Percent Budget Increase for Coming Fiscal Year

Directors of the California stem cell agency today approved a $17.4 million operating budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, an increase of 5.1 percent over spending for the current year.

As usual, the agency tries to portray its budget as a decrease in spending. Directors were told that it represented a 3 percent decline from the current year. However, the comparison is not made to actual spending for this year. Instead, the staff compares the 2013-14 budget to budget figures proposed last May, which are now no more than time-worn ephemera.

Most of the budget goes for salaries and benefits ($12.2 million ) with outside contracting running next ($2 million). (See here for details.) The budget projects 59 employees for next year compared to 57 currently. CIRM staff said the number of employees is expected to remain about the same until 2017 or so when its workload is projected to diminish.

The agency is expected to run out of money for new grants in 2017, but it is working on a plan to develop a combination of private and public funding to continue its work.

The spending plan reflects the cost of overseeing about $1.8 billion in nearly 600 grants and loans plus developing new research proposals that are likely to be funded in the next few years. The operational budget is capped by law at 6 percent of the amount of funds the agency distributes over its lifetime.  

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