Budgets and taxes continue to dominate the activity of the Michigan legislature during February. The Governor presented his budget to the legislation early in the month which provides some positive points for patients around Michigan. Governor Snyder continued to show support for the Healthy Michigan Plan, Michigan’s Medicaid expansion. Also included in the budget was a continuation of the funding for the cancer and tobacco prevention programs. Those continue to stay at their current funding levels for the coming year. Now the House and Senate will continue to review the proposal and take testimony from groups around the state on the different issues included in the budget.
On February, ACS CAN along with AHA and ALA hosted a welcoming reception for the members of the 99th legislature. This provided a great opportunity to meet some of the new lawmakers and talk to those seasoned veterans of the legislature on the major issues facing the groups this year. Attendance for the first time a was a little space, but it isn’t due to the issues of our three groups but rather taxes.
The same night the House decided to take a vote in passing a roll back of Michigan’s income tax. The current rate is at 4.25% and when that was raised there was a promise from the legislature that a rollback would happen over several years to 3.9%. The state still continued to need the money being generated from the increase so a couple years after the raise, the legislature went in and made the raise permanent.
House Republicans this year felt that this was the year that the state needed to make good on the promise of a rollback and so they pushed through legislation to do just that. What would a rollback mean, it would create a hole in the state budget to the tune of $1.1 Billion. This is a major concern is that with the declining funds major programs that we are supportive of like programs above would be cut or eliminated.
The members of the House spent over 12 hours in the House chamber trying to get enough support to have the measure pass, but at the end of the day, it failed by three votes. Now the House will continue to work the issue and can ask for the vote to be reconsidered, so this issue isn’t over yet and we will continue to monitor the activity around this issue.
Registration for Michigan’s Day at the Capitol (formerly called Lobby Day) is now open. The Day at the Capitol will be on Wednesday, May 3rd. Registration will close on April 21st. This year, we’ll be holding our event at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Lansing. The agenda for the day will be similar as previous years with some small changes. The urn below will take you to the registration site.
Any ACS volunteer is welcome to attend, but please let ACS CAN staff know prior to inviting anyone to ensure we are getting the right volunteers. We are looking for volunteers that are motivated to make a difference in the fight against cancer, are passionate about our mission, and are willing to share their cancer story. Volunteers do not need to be advocacy volunteers or have any experience advocating. Appointments with lawmakers will be scheduled for all volunteers that attend.
Our Day at the Capitol will focus on three important issues this year:
· The need to increase tobacco taxes to curb youth tobacco use and provide much needed funding for Michigan’s prevention programs, which have been drastically cut over the past decade, to provide cancer services and tobacco prevention to Michigan residents that need it the most.
· Increase access to cancer drugs through Oral Chemotherapy fairness.
· Create a road map for the future of Palliative Care in Michigan
If you have any questions about Michigan's Day at the Capitol, please contact Matt Phelan.
Our ACS CAN ACT Leads and Ambassadors are completing “Drop Bys” to their members of congress with our federal #KeepUsCovered campaign to address the ongoing debate around the Affordable Care Act. Volunteers will continue to contact members of Congress to discuss the issue of adequate and affordable healthcare for all cancer patients and survivors.
As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Matt (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (Andrew.email@example.com) with any of your questions.
· Budget work continues with no impending cuts to tobacco and cancer prevention programs and shows Healthy Michigan.
· House fails to pass income tax rollback. This would have drastic impacts on the state, creating $1.1 Billion hole.