Rick Perry’s latest comment about CPRIT, the state’s embattled cancer-fighting agency, is disturbing. He says, six years after the agency was created with the mission of curing cancer, that the legislative intent included “creating wealth.” At the same time, Perry dismissed the importance of basic research, saying “Basic research takes a long time and may or may not ever create wealth.” He was quoted by the San Antonio Express-News as saying, “The way that the Legislature intended it was to get cures into the public’s arena as soon as possible and at the same time create economic avenues (from) which wealth can be created,” said Perry. He is creating this supposed legislative intent from whole cloth, years after the fact.
We have seen this movie before. We all know who the beneficiaries of “creating wealth” will be. Sooner or later, everything the governor touches leads back to cronyism. Perry is changing the mission of CPRIT to refocus it from research to commercialization. The deemphasis on research will greatly crimp CPRIT’s ability to fulfill its original mission.