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States vote: School voucher, stem cell measures defeated

Email|Print| Text size + By Joe Danborn
Associated Press / November 8, 2007

NEW YORK - Cost-conscious voters rejected school vouchers for Utah students, state-sponsored stem cell research in New Jersey, and higher cigarette taxes in Oregon to fund healthcare for uninsured children.

Texans, meanwhile, authorized up to $3 billion in bonds over 10 years to create a cancer research center, one of the few closely watched ballot measures across the nation that voters approved Tuesday.

New Jersey voters had not killed a statewide ballot measure since 1990. The rejection was a defeat for Governor Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat who campaigned heavily to borrow $450 million over 10 years for stem cell research.

"The public understands the state has serious financial issues that must be addressed first," a Corzine spokeswoman said.

Governor Ted Kulongoski of Oregon also blamed money after voters opted not to raise the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents a pack, to $2.02, to fund health insurance for about 100,000 children lacking coverage. Tobacco companies opposing the Oregon measure outspent supporters by a 4-to-1 margin, contributing nearly $12 million.

Utah voters killed the nation's first statewide school voucher program open to all children, not just those from low- or middle-income families.

It was the first voucher election in the United States since 2000, when voters in Michigan and California rejected efforts to subsidize private schools.

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