The University of California regents this week endorsed the tobacco-tax-for-cancer-research ballot measure co-chaired by former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, perhaps seeing a windfall of research dollars in their future.

In a public hearing Wed-nesday, Perata -- a 2010 Oakland mayoral candidate who now lives in Orinda -- told the Regents' Committee on Educational Policy how the idea for the California Cancer Research Act was born at the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, based at UC San Francisco's Mission Bay Campus.

Perata said that with adequate investment, groundbreaking advances in the battle against cancer could be discovered and patented in California laboratories like that one, placing California at the forefront of bioscience while reaping the economic benefits of such research.

The ballot measure will appear on the June 5 presidential primary ballot.

The Legislative Analysts' Office estimates it could save more than 100,000 Californians' lives from smoking-related deaths as well as generate more than $855 million annually for medical research into cancers and heart disease, smoking education programs, and tobacco law enforcement through a $1 excise on tobacco sales, a tax that hasn't been adjusted in California since 1998.

A separate study by the University of California projects that the measure could save California up to $28.2 billion in health care costs between 2012 and 2016.

The tobacco industry has ponied up more than $1.9 million for the committee opposing the measure.


Advertisement

A spokeswoman for the committee, Californians Against Out-of-Control Taxes and Spending, didn't respond to a request for comment before this newspaper's deadline Friday.

Read the Political Blotter at IBAbuzz.com/politics.

Follow Josh Richman at Twitter.com/josh_richman.