The CEO Council for Growth (CEO Council), an affiliate of the GPCC, supports the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance’s effort to protect the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement (CURE) Program and the annual tobacco settlement payments that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is entitled to receive.

In the fall of 2013, an arbitration panel ruled that Pennsylvania’s annual payment from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) would be reduced by approximately $180 million. The ruling was made in response to claims that the Commonwealth had not adequately enforced laws relating to the collection of payments from tobacco companies not included under the MSA. Pennsylvania uses part of its annual MSA payment to fund the CURE Program, which has benefited 39 institutions across Pennsylvania by supporting a broad range of biomedical research focused on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infectious diseases, and other health areas. In response to the arbitration ruling, Pennsylvania has frozen all CURE Program annual funding — more than $40 million.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office filed a motion with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas seeking to overturn the arbitration panel’s ruling and restore full funding from the MSA. The CEO Council was pleased to become a signatory on the Amicus Brief filed by the Pennsylvania Cancer Alliance in support of the Attorney General’s motion to overturn the arbitration panel’s ruling. The first hearing is scheduled for March 7.

The CURE program is a highly productive investment of taxpayer dollars, providing significant returns to Pennsylvania by improving the health of its citizens and growing its economy. If the CURE program is defunded, experiments will be halted, research projects that have taken years to build will be dismantled, and scientists and laboratory technicians will lose their jobs. Left intact with sustained funding, the CURE program will advance promising medical discoveries, support the hiring and retention of skilled workers, leverage federal and private research funding, and most importantly, improve cancer prevention and care.

The CEO Council is a distinct group of business, higher education, and civic leaders who commit their time and efforts to enhancing economic growth and prosperity in the 11-county region across northern Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. The CEO Council engages in advocacy efforts through its members and engaged stakeholders to revitalize and enhance the region’s mobility, talent, innovation and business growth climate, and energy and manufacturing sectors.