We finally have a solution to road funding in Michigan.
The senate and house both passed a road funding bill on Tuesday, which is now headed to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk to be signed. The bill will signal an end to over four years of debate on this issue.
The most significant piece of the bill is that it calls for $600 million in general funds to be shifted to roads funding by 2021. The General Fund dedication in fiscal year 2019 would be $150 million, then $325 million in fiscal year 2020. I n fiscal year 2021, the GF dedication would be $600 million. The rest of the $1.2 billion for roads will be funded by a combination of gasoline tax increases and vehicle registration fees; the bill also includes an income tax cut.1
What does this mean for school-based health care?
The ramifications of this bill will weigh heavily in years to come. The funding decisions for 2018 and beyond will become very difficult, as it will again become necessary to raise new funds or cut existing funds from our state budget. This means that one or more of our state’s key program areas could be targeted for cuts: Criminal justice, education, and/or health programs.
The Community Adolescent Health Center Program has avoided the pressure against health programs in the past by residing in K-12 At-Risk Fund. Legislators usually try to avoid cutting education programs, but that might not always be the case. We saw what happened last year with the new centers and hub funding; we had to fight to get the additional $2 million included in the final budget. If our legislators decide not to raise additional revenue in the next few years, every program could be on the table. We must be incredibly vigilant to ensure that our school-based health center funding remains a top priority for our legislators.
More Advocacy Work Ahead
School-Based Health Care Awareness Month will occur in February and we are currently planning SCHA-MI’s Advocacy Day for 2016. Whether you can attend the event or not, we hope you will participate by sharing the success stories of youth at your center. We know from experience that our kids are the best story-tellers; leaders want to know how school-based health centers have encouraged success in the classroom.
We will be contacting you with more information in the coming months about how you can effectively advocate for your center.
Thanks for your support,
School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan
1. Gongwer News Services, www.gongwer.com