Reports


House Subcommittee Approves DCH Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

Full report in PDF

The governor’s budget recommends total funding for the Department of Community Health of $17.4 billion, including $2.9 billion in state General Fund dollars, an increase of approximately 3% over the current year adjusted appropriation of $16.9 billion. The bulk of the funding is for the state’s Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan programs (74%), followed by mental health and substance use disorder services (18%).

The budget for the Department of Community Health is the state’s largest, growing by over 60% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2014. Of note, the state General Fund investment has only increased 13% over the FY2005 appropriation. This year, federal funds make up nearly 69% of the DCH budget.

The governor’s FY 15 budget includes many positive recommendations including full-year funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, continued expansion of Healthy Kids Dental, continuation of half of the primary care rate increase, funding to begin implementation of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission recommendations, and restoration of funding for senior meals and services.

However, there are troubling shortfalls in the Medicaid health plan services, as well as in the public mental health system. Also troubling is the acknowledgement in the budget of the shortfall in the Health Insurance Claims Tax, with no recommendation to resolve it. These funds are used to match federal funds to provide Medicaid services.

Also of concern is the practice of taking ongoing program funding and arbitrarily reclassifying all or part of it as “one-time” funding as has been done with graduate medical education and several other programs over the last several years.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on health spending concurred with the Executive Budget recommendation on full-year funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, the Healthy Kids Dental expansion, continuation of the Medicaid primary care increase, funding for the Mental Health and Wellness recommendations, and funding to restore senior meals and services. The House subcommittee recommended different sources of funding for some of the Executive recommendations and included initiatives related to diabetes prevention and pilot projects to support those with Alzheimer’s Disease in their homes.  

Medicaid

Approximately one in every five Michigan residents is enrolled in Medicaid for their healthcare coverage, and more than half of all births in the state are paid for by the program. In each of the last three years, half of the children in the state have been covered by Medicaid as child poverty in Michigan continues to increase. In the current fiscal year, the governor projects that 1.82 million Michigan residents will be covered by Medicaid, with an additional 214,000 benefiting from the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan that will take effect on April 1st.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 recognizes state General Fund savings of over $243 million as a result of federal approval of Michigan’s waiver to expand Medicaid through the Healthy Michigan Plan, which took effect on April 1, 2014. The savings are realized because the state currently spends 100% state General Funds for limited services to very low-income uninsured individuals, and with the expansion, federal funds will be available to pay for services for this population. The governor recommends that half of the savings, or $122 million, be placed in a newly created Health Savings Fund that would ensure that the state has sufficient funds to cover future reductions in federal matching funds. Healthy Michigan Plan funding is 100% federal for calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016. The federal funding declines during calendar years 2017- 2019, reaching 90% in 2020, where it remains.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The Healthy Michigan Plan, championed by Gov. Snyder, will provide comprehensive health coverage to about 400,000 currently uninsured people in the state through 2015, nearly doubling the projected enrollment for Fiscal Year 2014. This comprehensive program covers individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. Full-year funding of $2.2 billion, all federal funds, is recommended. A staffing increase of 36 positions is included to administer the program.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee House subcommittee concurred with the full-year funding recommendation as well as the additional staff to administer the program, but created a new line-item for the staffing costs rather than include them in the Medical Services Administration line-item.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor recommends $25.2 million for autism services, down from $35.2 million this year. The funding reduction is not a program reduction, but reflects a slow start-up for the program due to the need to develop provider capacity. To increase needed capacity, $3 million in continuing “one-time” funding, increased from $2 million in the current fiscal year, is recommended to train autism services providers through the creation of university autism centers. In Fiscal Year 2014, grants of $500,000 each are allocated to Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Oakland Universities. The Fiscal Year 2015 recommendation allocates $1 million each to Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan and Michigan State Universities.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the $10 million reduction in autism services, but did not concur with the recommended increase in university training funds. The House subcommittee reduced the funding from $2 million to $1.5 million in “one-time” grants and specified $$500,000 in grants to Eastern and Western Michigan Universities and $500,000 to Michigan State University.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor recommends $26 million in state funds, bringing in $49.4 million in federal funds, to continue approximately half of the rate increase for primary care providers. This rate increase, required in Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014, was 100% federally funded for the first two calendar years. In calendar year 2015, the rate increase is no longer required or 100% federally funded, so a state investment is required to continue.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with continuing the rate increase, but recommended a lower level of funding — $21.4 million state funds, $40.7 million in federal funds.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor eliminates the special payment for rural and sole community hospitals. The funds were classified as “one-time” funding in Fiscal Year 2012, but converted to ongoing funding for Fiscal Years 2013 and 2014.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee rejected the Executive recommendation to eliminate the payment and recommended continuation, but changed the source of funding from state and federal funds to provider taxes and federal funds, maintaining the state funds savings included in the Executive Budget.

Healthy Kids Dental

Michigan currently provides enhanced dental services to more than 500,000 children in 78 counties. Access to dental services is essential to prevent tooth decay, the number one chronic disease in children.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor recommends $5.4 million in state General Fund and $10.3 million in federal funds to expand the Healthy Kids Dental program to an additional 100,000 children in Kalamazoo and Macomb counties. With that expansion, the program would cover over 611,000 children in 80 of 83 Michigan counties. Not yet covered are more than 400,000 children in three of the most populated Michigan counties that are the home to many low-income children and children of color, including Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties.
  • Healthy Kids Dental improves access to care by partnering with Delta Dental of Michigan to increase provider reimbursement rates and simplify administration.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation. The House subcom-mittee made no recommendation to expand to the remaining counties.
  • With Michigan’s dismal ranking in the Race for Results for African American children, Expanding Healthy Kids Dental to the remaining counties presents a tremendous public policy opportunity.

 

 

 

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Since Fiscal Year 2005, Medicaid-related mental health spending has increased by over 50%, while non-Medicaid spending has decreased, leaving thousands of residents without needed services. Funding for substance use disorder services increased by 12%, largely because of increases in federal funding, but fewer individuals were served in Fiscal Year 2013 than in the previous 9 years, despite the growing problem with heroin/other opiates addiction.

Governor’s Budget:

  • With the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, individuals enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan will also have access to comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder services. As mentioned above, great concern has been raised about the adequacy of the funding to provide the promised services.

House Subcommittee:

The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor also recommends $15.6 million in state General Fund, $5 million of which is “one-time” funding, to begin implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which released its recommendations for improvements in mental health services in January 2014.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive, and also added potential federal funding (yet to be identified), increasing programming capacity by $22 million.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor recommended $3.4 million in state General Fund for the Mental Health Diversion Council to treat those with mental illness or developmental disabilities in settings other than the criminal justice system. Additional funding of $2.7 million is included in the Judiciary and Corrections budgets.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Public Health and Children’s Services

  • Nearly two of every three dollars spent on public health services is federal. Over the last decade, nearly all increases in total public health funding have been from federal grants or other sources, while state funding has remained essentially flat.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor recommends continuation funding of $39.4 million for local public health services. Appropriations for local public health essential services, while increased by $2 million in Fiscal Year 2014, remain below the Fiscal Year 2005 appropriation.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee provided a $1.5 million General Fund increase, bringing the House subcommittee recommendation up to the level of the Fiscal Year 2005 appropriation.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor includes $2.5 million in state funds to conduct a regional needs assessment and expand home visiting services to at-risk families with young children in rural areas in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurs with the governor, but funds the expansion with federal (TANF) funds, rather than state funds.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The proposed budget includes $2 million in “one-time” funding for a pilot program to improve child and adolescent health services by working with two existing school-based clinics to identify satellite locations that will be serviced by mobile teams, increasing access to nursing and behavioral health services in schools.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurs with the pilot program, but funds with federal (TANF) funds, rather than state funds.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The essential health provider program was increased by $600,000 to reflect the projected additional private revenue. This program assists primary care providers who practice in medically underserved areas with the repayment of their educational loans.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Governor’s Budget:

  • After three years of “one-time” funding, island (Bois Blanc, Mackinac, Beaver, and Drummond) health clinic funding was converted to ongoing funding.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Services for the Aging

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor’s budget includes $5 million in state funds to help eliminate a waiting list of an estimated 4,500 seniors eligible for home-delivered meals ($1.8 million) and in-home services ($3.2 million) provided through Area Agencies on Aging around the state. With this increase in home-delivered meals, the reductions in funding over the last decade have been completely restored.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor also expands funding by $9 million in state funds, $17.2 million in federal funds to eliminate the waiting list for the MIChoice program that provides in-home and community services to help seniors or those with disabilities remain in their homes rather than moving to nursing homes, serving an additional 1,250 individuals.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

Governor’s budget:

  • The governor recommends the expansion of PACE (Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) to more counties, funded through corresponding savings in nursing home costs.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee concurred with the Executive Recommendation.

House Subcommittee Initiatives

  • The House subcommittee added $150,000 state General Fund to increase diabetes prevention funding to $800,000.
  • The House subcommittee added $150,000 state General Fund to establish a pilot program to provide more comprehensive services and supports to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease to enable them to remain in their homes as long as possible, delaying potential moves to long term care facilities.

 

Senate and House Subcommittees Approve Higher Ed, Community Colleges FY 2015 Budgets

Full report in PDF

Because Michigan does not have a state agency that exercises financing or policy authority over its universities and community colleges, the Legislature makes direct appropriations to those institutions through the Higher Education and Community Colleges budgets. Michigan’s three financial aid grant programs are funded through the Higher Education budget even though community college students may also apply for and receive those grants.

Community Colleges

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor’s budget appropriates a 3% ($8.9 million) increase in total funding for community college operations, which is distributed among the 28 Michigan community colleges according to the following metrics: proportional increase from FY 2013-14 funding (50%), weighted completions (17.5%), student contact hours (10%), administrative costs (7.5%) and local strategic value (15%). (Colleges receive the local strategic value portion if they meet four out of five listed best practices in each of the following areas: a) economic development and business/industry partnerships, b) educational partnerships, and c) community services.)
  • As in previous recent years, the majority of overall funding for community colleges comes from the School Aid Fund ($197.6 million, an amount equal to the current School Aid Fund appropriation) and the rest comes from the General Fund ($173.9 million, a 26% increase over the current General Fund appropriation).
  • For the first time, the governor’s budget includes a tuition restraint prerequisite (similar to the one for universities) that conditions receipt of metric funding on limiting FY 2014-15 tuition and fee increases for resident students to 3.2%.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • Concurs with the governor on the increase in operational and performance funding.
  • Does not include the governor’s recommended tuition restraint provision.

House Subcommittee:

  • Concurs with the governor on the increase in operational and performance funding.
  • Does not include the governor’s tuition restraint provision.
  • Adds a $100 placeholder to develop a program by which students could obtain a GED at a community college free of charge if committing to enroll in an academic or vocational program. The state would reimburse community colleges for eligible costs associated with providing the GED programs or testing. The League supports this addition to the budget and its boilerplate language, as such a program would help more low-skilled adults enter community college occupational training.

Universities

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor’s budget increases the total appropriation for university operations by $76.9 million (6.1%) over the current fiscal year. As in previous recent years, this increase is in the form of performance funding, though the formula has been modified so that half of the increase goes proportionally to universities to make up for funding lost in 2012.
  • The governor includes a new performance metric that rewards institutions based on the number of students receiving Pell Grants, a positive change that attempts to encourage universities to become more accessible to low-income students.
  • The governor continues the practice begun two years ago of requiring universities to limit tuition increases to 3.2% or less in order to receive any performance funding. This is the first budget that applies the same requirement to community colleges as well, even though community college tuition increases have been much smaller than those of universities over the past decade. This “tuition restraint” prerequisite for receiving performance funding helps to keep postsecondary education affordable for low-income students.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • Increases the total appropriation for university operations by $76.9 million (6.1%) over the current fiscal year.
  • Concurs with the governor’s performance funding and tuition restraint changes.

House Subcommittee:

  • Increases university operations funding by $70.4 million (5.6%) over the current fiscal year.
  • Concurs with the governor’s performance funding and tuition restraint changes.

Financial Aid

Governor’s Budget:

  • The governor’s budget increases the Tuition Incentive Program by $1.5 million over the current fiscal year, for a total of $48.5 million. The increase is entirely from the General Fund, but $43.8 million (90%) of total funding for TIP is from the state’s TANF funds. The League supports the increase.
  • Total funding for all financial aid grant programs in the governor’s budget is $103.1 million, some of which comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families allocation.
  • The governor does not increase the Michigan Tuition Grant program, but adds a requirement that independent colleges submit data, including student performance data (Tuition Grant students enrolled in remedial education and/or completing degrees, Pell Grant students completing degrees), to the P-20 system in order to participate in the Tuition Grant program.

House Subcommittee:

  • Increases the Tuition Incentive Program by $1.5 million over current year, and the Michigan Tuition Grant by $1.8 million over the current year.
  • Does not include the governor’s P-20 requirement for participation in the Tuition Grant program.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • Increases the Tuition Incentive Program by $1.5 million over current year.
  • Does not increase the Michigan Tuition Grant or include the governor’s P-20 requirement for participation in the Tuition Grant program

Senate and House Subcommittees Approve DHS FY 2015 Budget

Full report in PDF

Appropriations subcommittees in both the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives have approved their versions of the Department of Human Services budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which begins on Oct. 1, 2014, and ends Sept. 30, 2015.

After years of declining investments, the DHS budgets approved by the House and Senate subcommittees further reduce total funding for DHS. The governor’s budget cut DHS by $397 million or 6.6% from the current year appropriation. The Senate subcommittee cut DHS by approximately 7% or $418 million, while the House subcommittee reduced funding by $436 million or 7.2%.

Reductions in spending partly reflect policy decisions that have made fewer families and children eligible for public assistance benefits, including lifetime limits on income assistance, and new asset tests for food assistance.

In the current fiscal year, the DHS budget is the state’s third largest, accounting for 12.3% of total spending from federal and state resources. Federal funds now account for more than 80% of DHS funding, up from 70% in Fiscal Year 2004. Other sources of revenue for DHS are state General Funds (17%); and state restricted, local and private funds.

DHS administers a range of services, including the Family Independence Program; the Food Assistance Program; State Disability Assistance; State Emergency Relief; and child protective, foster care, adoption and juvenile justice services. Decisions made by the Legislature will affect nearly 2.4 million Michigan residents—including over 1 million children—who receive some form of public assistance to help them hold low-wage jobs, feed and shelter their children, access healthcare, or survive when faced with serious illnesses or disabilities.

Income Assistance

Governor’s Budget:

  • Another deep reduction in funding for income assistance for families with children. The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes $151.6 million for the FIP program, a reduction of 29% from the amount appropriated in the current fiscal year ($214.3 million). The governor assumes that FIP caseloads will fall from 44,400 this year to 33,200 in 2015, a reduction of 25% in a single fiscal year.
  • Expansion of funds for out-stationed DHS workers. The governor recommends $19.3 million in federal, private and local funds to expand the number of out-stationed DHS workers by 150. With this funding, DHS would be able to expand the number of workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, schoolbased centers or businesses that agree to pay a portion of the cost, using their contributions to draw down federal funding.
  • Continuation of the current Extended-FIP policy, which gives households leaving FIP due to earnings $10 per month in FIP assistance for six months. In 2011, when the state tightened its 48-month lifetime limit on FIP, those six months of very minimal assistance began to count against a family’s lifetime limit. The governor’s budget also removes language requiring DHS to notify persons eligible for Extended-FIP that receiving it will count toward federal and state lifetime limits.
  • Continuation of the current FIP children’s clothing allowance. The governor’s budget includes $2.9 million for the annual clothing allowance for children. The allowance was originally designed to make sure that school-age children have the opportunity to at least start the school year with a set of clothes. The program was restricted in 2011 to only those children in FIP cases that do not include an adult—e.g., children living with ineligible grandparents or other caregivers.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee agrees with the governor’s recommended FIP caseload of 33,200, and total funding of $151.6 million.
  • The House subcommittee also allocates $2.9 million for the annual FIP children’s clothing allowance, but expands eligibility to all children ages 4 through 18.
  • The House subcommittee continues current policy of counting minimal Extended-FIP benefits against lifetime limits, but expands budget language requiring DHS to notify families of the effect on lifetime benefits on both the FIP application and the form that informs families of their eligibility.
  • The subcommittee agrees with the governor’s expansion of out-stationed workers, but transfers current DHS staff and funding, rather than increasing funding or the number of workers.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor’s projected FIP caseload of 33,200, a reduction of 11,200 cases monthly, reducing FIP funding by $62.3 million.
  • The Senate subcommittee adds budget language requiring DHS to report quarterly on: (1) the number and percentage of nonexempt FIP recipients who are employed; (2) the average and range of wages of employed FIP recipients; and (3) the number and percentage of employed FIP recipients who remain employed for 6 months or more.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor’s expansion of out-stationed workers by $19.3 million and 150 full-time positions.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor by continuing to count minimal Extended-FIP benefits against a family’s lifetime limits—affecting 1,105 families next year. The subcommittee retains the current requirement to notify families that Extended-FIP will count toward federal and state lifetime limits.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes new budget language requiring DHS to create a workgroup to determine how Michigan Works! job training programs can be revised to reflect declining FIP caseloads, including possible reductions in the amount of federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funding that is provided to Michigan Works!

Food Assistance

Governor’s Budget:

  • A reduction of $444.5 million in FAP funding, to a total of $2.4 billion. The cut reflects the loss of federal ARRA funding as well as a projected drop in FAP households, from 894,750 this year to 890,000 in Fiscal Year 2015. Nearly 1.7 million Michigan residents received FAP benefits in January 2014, including over 700,000 children. Of those children, 242,408, or more than one-third, were under the age of 6.
  • Continuation of the optional state asset test for FAP benefits. Beginning in October 2011, DHS adopted an asset test for FAP eligibility that is not required under federal law. FAP households/groups must now have less than $5,000 in assets, including the value of vehicles after certain exemptions.
  • No resolution of the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the federal Farm Bill. The governor’s budget was released right before the Farm Bill was passed by Congress and therefore does not address federal cuts related to the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the bill. The Heat and Eat option, which has been utilized by 16 states including Michigan, allows states to use a standard utility allowance in determining food assistance benefits, including situations where eligible households receive a nominal $1 per year in energy assistance through the Low Income Health and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). As a result, Michigan has been able to enhance the very modest Food Assistance benefits for some households, particularly important on the heels of a cut in benefits for all FAP recipients in November of 2013 due to the loss of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Under the new Farm Bill, the nominal LIHEAP payment was increased to a minimum of $20 per years. Eight states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, Montana, Massachusetts and Vermont have already announced that they will meet the new $20 minimum and continue current benefits for low income families, while two additional states and the District of Columbia are considering the change.

The House Fiscal Agency estimates—based on Fiscal Year 2010 data—that continuing the Heat and Eat option in Fiscal Year 2015 will require an additional $8.4 million in LIHEAP spending, but will prevent the loss of approximately $250 million in federal food assistance. Failure to raise the LIHEAP payment to $20 will result in the loss of $88 per month in food assistance for more than 235,000 low income families.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee agrees with the governor on the projected FAP caseload of 890,000, as well as the loss of ARRA funding, resulting in a total cut in FAP funding of $445.5 million.
  • The House subcommittee also retains the FAP asset test.
  • The subcommittee’s budget bill does not address the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the federal Farm Bill.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • The Senate subcommittee concurred with the governor and the House on FAP caseloads and related funding.
  • The Senate subcommittee also retained the FAP asset test.
  • The subcommittee did not address the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the federal Farm Bill.

State Disability Assistance and Services

Governor’s Budget:

  • A reduction in funding for State Disability Assistance of 14%. The governor’s budget includes $17.9 million for the SDA, down from the $20.8 million appropriated in the current fiscal year. SDA caseloads have been decreasing since Fiscal Year 2010, in part because of efforts to ensure that SDA recipients who are eligible for federal Supplemental Security Income are transferred to that program.
  • A continued reduction in SDA cases. The governor assumes that the SDA caseload will also fall by 14% from the level budgeted in the current fiscal year, with total cases of 6,693 next year.
  • An increase in funding for Michigan Rehabilitative Services. The governor includes $4.4 million ($2.4 million in one-time funding) to allow DHS to draw down federal matching funds for rehabilitative services and avoid waiting lists.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee agrees with the governor on a caseload of 6,693 for SDA, a reduction in funding of $2.9 million in state General Funds, and total funding for SDA payments of $17.9 million.
  • The House subcommittee includes only $2 million for Michigan Rehabilitative Services (down from the governor’s recommendation of $4.4 million), along with a $100 “placeholder” to ensure later budget discussions about the remaining $2.4 million that the governor designated as “one-time” funding.
  • The House subcommittee appropriates $1 million to expand a pilot project begun this year through the Centers for Independent Living, bringing total funding to $2.5 million. The goal is to develop accessible, comprehensive and coordinated services for persons with disabilities to improve financial self-sufficiency.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor’s overall reduction in funding for SDA payments from $20.8 million this year to $17.9 million in Fiscal Year 2015, as well as the projected SDA caseload of 6,693.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor and expands funding for Michigan Rehabilitative Services by $4.4 million. In addition, the subcommittee adds $3 million to match $11.1 million in funding in the Department of Corrections to provide vocational and other services to persons with histories of probation and parole violations (not currently incarcerated), as well as those with severe mental health needs.
  • The Senate subcommittee also appropriates $1 million to continue and expand the Center for Independent Living pilot project.
  • The subcommittee includes new budget language that would limit the number of times persons could apply for disability assistance to two times per year—subject to federal approval.

State Emergency Services

Governor’s Budget:

  • Continuation of current energy assistance policies and appropriations. In addition to federal funding from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), in the past, Michigan received funds through the state’s Public Service Commission for energy assistance. After the courts ruled that the PSC did not have authority to collect restricted fee revenues, a decision that reduced funding by $60 million annually, the Legislature approved a new surcharge on electric meters to fund the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). The MEAP was created in state law (P.A. 615 of 2012), and required DHS to establish a consolidated energy assistance program with a single, simplified application. For Fiscal Year 2015, the governor includes nearly $175 million in LIHEAP funding, as well as $60 million for the MEAP.
  • Continuation funding for State Emergency Relief services, including $13.6 million for local DHS office emergency services, $15.7 million for homeless services through the Salvation Army, $4.3 million for indigent burial services, $1.8 million for the Food Bank Council, and $3 million for multicultural services.

House Subcommittee:

  • The House subcommittee includes $165 million for LIHEAP—$10 million less than the governor—including approximately $85 million for home heating credits and $80 million for energy crisis assistance. The subcommittee used $10 million in federal LIHEAP to fund the MEAP, reflecting a statutory cap on the new surcharge of $50 million in collections, and bringing total spending for the MEAP in the House subcommittee budget to $60 million.
  • The House subcommittee concurs with the governor and provides $13.6 million for local office emergency services, $15.7 million for homeless programs, $4.3 million for indigent burials, $1.8 for food banks, and $3 million for multicultural integration funding and the Chaldean Community Foundation.

Senate Subcommittee:

  • The Senate subcommittee concurred with the governor, providing $175 million for LIHEAP, and $60 million for the MEAP.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes a $200,000 increase in funding for food banks, bringing total funding to nearly $2 million.

Child Welfare and Family Services

Governor’s Budget:

Foster Care and Protective Services

  • A slight increase in funding for foster care services. The governor recommends $190.3 million for foster care payments, up slightly from the $187.7 million appropriated for this year.
  • A small reduction in projected foster care cases. The governor cuts $2.4 million ($1 million state General Funds) to reflect a projected decline in foster care cases from 6,250 this year to 6,075 in Fiscal Year 2015. Foster care cases have been falling and, with the governor’s projections, will be down 43% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2015.
  • Funding to pay 100% of private agency administrative rates. The governor includes a $5 million increase in funding to pay 100% of the private child placing agency administrative rate for new cases entering care. Those costs are currently split between the state and counties.
  • An increase of 4% in the County Child Care Fund. The governor includes $178 million for the Child Care Fund, an increase of 4% over the current year appropriation. The Child Care Fund provides for the care and treatment of delinquent or maltreated children who are court wards and not eligible for federal payments through Title IV-E. The primary sources of funding for the Child Care Fund are state General Funds (49.8%) and federal TANF (48.5%).
  • Increased funding for medical and psychiatric evaluations of abused and neglected children. The governor includes an additional $2.1 million for medical and psychiatric evaluations for children in the child welfare system, increasing total funding from $6.6 million to $8.7 million.
  • Funding to launch a new performance-based contracting model for child welfare services. The governor includes $1.4 million for the first phase of a new financing model for child welfare services.

Adoption Services

  • A small decrease in funding for adoption subsidies. The governor includes $241 million for adoption subsidies, a small decrease from the current year appropriation of $244 million. Subsidies are provided to families adopting children with special needs, and include both cash and medical subsidies for pre-existing medical or mental health conditions. Adoption subsidy average monthly caseloads increased by 11% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2010, and have since stabilized at approximately 27,000. The major sources of funding for adoption subsidies are Title IV-E (46%), state General Funds (33%), and federal TANF (21%).
  • An increase in incentive payments for private agencies finalizing adoptions. The governor includes a total of $3.2 million—an increase of 5%—for private agencies that are placing children for adoption, including incentive payments to encourage more timely adoption turnaround times.

Family Preservation and Prevention

  • No reinvestment in prevention and family preservation services. The governor provides continuation funding for Strong Families/Safe Children ($12.35 million), Family Reunification ($3.98 million), and family preservation and prevention services programs ($2.5 million). Small cuts were made in the Families First program (from $17.2 million to $16.9 million), and the Child Protection and Permanency program ($13.2 million to $12.9 million). Total funding for family preservation and prevention programs fell from $60.6 million in Fiscal Year 2005 to $49.3 million in the current fiscal year—a reduction of nearly 19%, in the face of a 20% increase in the number of substantiated victims of child abuse and neglect.

Other Child and Family Services

  • An increase in funding for domestic violence prevention. The governor includes $514,200 for domestic violence prevention and treatment programs, increasing total funding from $15.2 million to $15.7 million.
  • Small increase in funding for juvenile justice reentry services. The governor recommends $800,000 for services for youths in the juvenile justice system to ease their re-entry into the community.
  • Funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan call center. The governor recommends $20.6 million (all federal funding) for a call center for Healthy Michigan Plan/Medicaid applicants and recipients.

House Subcommittee:

Foster Care and Protective Services

  • The House subcommittee recommends total funding for foster care payments of $188.4 million, slightly below the governor’s budget, but accepts the governor’s estimated foster care caseload of 6,075, at a projected cost of $28,061 per case for the year.
  • The House subcommittee increases the Child Care Fund to $185.2 million. The subcommittee agrees with the governor to pay 100% of the private agency administrative rate for new cases next year (rather than splitting costs with the counties), but appropriated those funds to the Child Care Fund, rather than to the foster care portion of the budget.
  • The House subcommittee includes the governor’s recommended increase in funding for incentive payments for private agencies that finalize adoptions in a timely manner ($3.2 million).
  • The subcommittee revises the goal limiting the number of children in foster care for longer than 24 months from 31% to 25%.
  • The House subcommittee appropriates an additional $3.7 million to increase rates paid to private agency residential care providers by slightly over 2%—provided the county match rate is eliminated for the increase.
  • The House subcommittee agrees with the governor to fund the launching of a new performance-based contracting model for child welfare services. In addition to the $1.4 million provided by the governor, the subcommittee provides $100,000 for a technical assistance contract for Kent County—the first county to pilot the new financing approach. Under the subcommittee bill, Kent County would privatize all foster care and adoption services (not child protective services) by Oct. 31, 2014, with performance-based funding in place at that time.
  • The House subcommittee accepts the governor’s proposed increase in funding (additional $2.1 million) for medical and psychiatric evaluations of abused and neglected children.

Adoption Services

  • The House subcommittee agrees with the governor on the projected adoption subsidy caseload of 26,800 at an estimated cost of $732 per month per case, as well as total spending for the program of $241.1 million.
  • The House subcommittee added budget language prohibiting DHS from using the income of the adoptive parent in determining eligibility for adoption support subsidies.
  • The House subcommittee adds $1 million for a “Parent to Parent” program to provide support for adoptive parents.

Family Preservation and Prevention

  • The House subcommittee concurs with the governor’s recommendation on funding for family preservation and prevention programs, with continuation funding for Strong Families/Safe Children, Family Reunification, and family preservation and prevention services programs, as well as small cuts in the Families First and Child Protection and Permanency programs.

Other Child and Family Services

  • The House subcommittee allocates $3 million for before- and after-school programs, as well as $500,000 for a school success partnership program through the Northeast Michigan Community Services Agency.
  • The House subcommittee approves the governor’s recommendation of $800,000 for services for youths in the juvenile justice system to ease their re-entry into the community.
  • The House subcommittee cuts $8.2 million ($3 million in state General Fund) by closing the Maxey Training School for delinquent youths, transferring those youths to other facilities.
  • The House subcommittee also approves $20.6 million in federal funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan call center.
  • The House subcommittee accepts the governor’s proposed increase in funding for domestic violence and prevention services.
  • The House subcommittee approves $350,000 for the Michigan Reading Corps to provide literacy services and tutors for students in kindergarten through third grade who are identified as being at risk of reading failure.

Senate Subcommittee:

Foster Care and Protective Services

  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor on foster care caseloads and costs, projecting a decline in foster care cases to 6,075 next year, and a total reduction in related foster care costs of $2.4 million.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor on a nearly $7 million increase (4%) in the County Child Care Fund, with total funding of $178 million.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor’s recommendation to allocate $1.4 million for the new performance-based contracting model for child welfare services.
  • The Senate subcommittee increases funding for medical and psychiatric evaluations of children in the protective services and foster care systems by $2 million over the governor’s recommendation (an increase of $2.1 million), bringing total funding up to $10.7 million—up nearly 63% from the current fiscal year.
  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor in approving a $5 million increase in funding to pay 100% of the private child placing agency administrative rate for new cases entering care.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes $300,000 to cover the costs foster parents incur in transporting their foster children to parent-child visitations.
  • The Senate subcommittee revises budget language to change the goal of limiting the number of children in foster care for longer than 24 months from 31% to 30%.
  • The Senate subcommittee adds new budget language requiring DHS to set clear policies for parent-child visitations, including written plans with a minimum of 3 hours per child per week.

Adoption Services

  • The Senate subcommittee concurs with the governor and includes $241 million for adoption subsidies, a decrease of $2.9 million from the current year based on a projected drop in the caseload of 350 cases to 26,800.
  • The Senate subcommittee increases funding for incentives payments for private agency adoptions by only 3.3% (compared to the 5% recommended by the governor), for a total increase of $2.2 million.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes $18.8 million to allow adoptive parents to claim enhanced payment rates for children who had special needs that existed at the time of adoption, but were not identified until later. Adoptive parents would be allowed to receive the enhanced rate one time for any eligible child from birth to age 18. This recommended change is in response to complaints filed by adoptive parents claiming that they were not notified that their adopted children had special needs, and includes physically disabled children needing greater supervision and care, as well as children with special mental health needs, requiring special diets, or with antisocial behaviors.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes budget language prohibiting DHS from negotiating adoption subsidies that are below the standard payment for foster care.

Family Preservation and Prevention

  • The Senate subcommittee concurs with the governor’s recommendation on funding for family preservation and prevention programs, with continuation funding for Strong Families/Safe Children, Family Reunification, and family preservation and prevention services programs; and small cuts in the Families First and Child Protection and Permanency programs.

Other Child and Family Services

  • The Senate subcommittee agrees with the governor’s recommended increase in funding for domestic violence prevention and treatment.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes $125,000 in state funds to match federal funding for the Michigan Reading Corps—for the purpose of literacy and tutoring services for children in kindergarten through third grade—as well as $300,000 to expand the School Success Partnerships program to four new counties through the Northeast Michigan Community Services Agency.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes $2.9 million for a database to track youths in the juvenile justice system.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes $500,000 to expand grants to rural communities to fund new and expanded in-home juvenile justice programs, bringing total funding to $1.5 million.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes the governor’s proposed increase in funding for juvenile justice reentry services of $800,000.
  • The Senate subcommittee includes funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan call center ($20.6 million in federal funds).

Raising the Minimum Wage Helps Women, Promotes Pay Equity

Full report in PDF

 

Raising Michigan’s minimum wage to $10.10 would benefit nearly 1 million workers of both genders. Women make up a larger share of low-wage workers in the state, so they would benefit in greater numbers than men.

Increasing wages benefits families and improves children’s economic future. One of the benefits of this investment is the longterm viability of communities and local economies.

Increasing the minimum wage would help narrow the wage gap that continues to plague women – particularly women of color – in the state and around the country.

Michigan has the Seventh-widest gender wage gap in the country, with women earning only three-fourths of what men earn. This disparity is even larger for women of color.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: Michigan League for Public Policy | The Aspen Institute | National Women’s Law Center | Working Poor Families Project  

 

 

A Closer Look at the FY 2015 Budget: Department of Human Services

Full report in PDF

After years of declining investments, the governor’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget reduces total funding for DHS by 6.6% from the current year appropriation, from $6 billion to $5.6 billion. Reductions in spending reflect in part policy decisions that have made fewer families and children eligible for public assistance benefits, including lifetime limits on income assistance, and new asset tests for food assistance.

The Michigan Legislature is now working on its version of the Fiscal Year 2015 DHS budget, which affects nearly 2.4 million Michigan residents—including over 1 million children—who receive some form of public assistance to help them hold low-wage jobs, feed and shelter their children, access healthcare, or survive when faced with serious illnesses or disabilities.1

The governor’s recommendation, if adopted, would result in a total funding loss to the DHS of $1.5 billion or 21% in just five fiscal years. Total appropriations for DHS increased by an average of 9.4% annually between Fiscal Years 2007 and 2011, largely because of the increased need for federally funded food assistance.

Since 2011, appropriations have declined an average of 5.1% annually, as caseloads for Michigan’s income assistance program, the Family Independence Program, dropped precipitously.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the current fiscal year, the DHS budget is the state’s third largest, accounting for 12.3% of total spending from federal and state resources.3 The DHS administers a range of services, including the Family Independence Program; the Food Assistance Program; State Disability Assistance; State Emergency Relief; and child protective, foster care, adoption and juvenile justice services.

Federal funds now account for more than 80% of DHS funding, up from 70% in Fiscal Year 2004. Other sources of revenue for the DHS are state General Funds (17%); and state restricted, local and private funds.4

Income Assistance

Michigan’s income assistance program for families with children, the Family Independence Program, provides a maximum monthly benefit of $492 per month for a family of three. To be eligible, a family of three must have income below $9,780 annually, and financial assets of less than $3,000. The state’s youngest children are most likely to be in families receiving FIP benefits, and are most hurt by budget cuts that limit income assistance. In January 2014, 67,851 children received FIP assistance, with 43.9% of those children being under the age of 6.

The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes:

  • Another deep reduction in funding for income assistance for families with children. The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes $151.6 million for the FIP program, a reduction of 29% from the amount appropriated in the current fiscal year ($214.3 million). The governor assumes that FIP caseloads will fall from 44,400 this year to 33,200 in 2015, a reduction of 25% in a single fiscal year.5

Beginning in 2011, changes to state and federal lifetime limits for FIP resulted in unprecedented caseload declines.6 Assuming the governor’s budget is adopted, FIP caseloads will fall by 58% in just five fiscal years, while funding will fall by 64%.

These declines have occurred despite continued high unemployment in Michigan and rising child poverty. Between 2001 and 2012, child poverty nearly doubled, with one of every four children now living in poverty. During that same time, the percentage of the state’s children receiving FIP assistance fell by 40%. In January 2014, 68,000 children received FIP, down from 145,000 in January of 2009.7

  • Continuation of the Pathways to Potential program, with a new investment of $20.1 million in largely federal funds. The Pathways to Potential program currently locates DHS staff in 159 public schools around the state to make it easier for them to address families’ needs. With the new funding, DHS will also locate workers in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community mental health agencies, with private employers, and in corrections facilities to help with prisoner re-entry.
  • Continuation of the current Extended-FIP policy, which gives households leaving FIP due to earnings $10 per month in FIP assistance for six months. In 2011, when the state tightened its 48-month lifetime limit on FIP, those six months of very minimal assistance began to count against a family’s lifetime limit. The governor’s budget also removes language requiring DHS to notify persons eligible for Extended-FIP that receiving it will count toward federal and state lifetime limits. In Fiscal Year 2007, the monthly average Extended-FIP caseload was 3,534, with 10,901 recipients.8 For Fiscal Year 2014 (monthly average through February 2014), there were only 1,229 Extended-FIP cases, with 3,286 recipients.9 The governor’s budget assumes that the Extended-FIP caseload will drop to 1,105 in Fiscal Year 2015.
  • Continuation of the current FIP children’s clothing allowance. The governor’s budget includes $2.88 million for the annual clothing allowance for children. The allowance was originally designed to make sure that school-age children have the opportunity to at least start the school year with a decent set of clothes. The program was restricted in 2011 to only those children in FIP cases that do not include an adult—e.g., children living with ineligible grandparents or other caregivers.

Food Assistance

Food Assistance benefits (formerly called Food Stamps) are completely federally funded, with an average monthly benefit for a two-person household of $245. To be eligible, families must have incomes under approximately 200% of poverty or $38,180 for a family of three. More than 70% of FAP recipients receive no other state cash assistance.10

Between 2011 and 2013, the number of children receiving FAP dropped from 968,000 to 910,000, while child poverty remained high at 25%.

The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes:

  • A reduction of $444.5 million in FAP funding, to a total of $2.4 billion. The cut reflects a projected drop in FAP households, from 894,750 this year to 890,000 in Fiscal Year 2015.11 Nearly 1.7 million Michigan residents received FAP benefits in January 2014, including over 700,000 children. Of those children, 242,408, more than one-third, were under the age of 6.12
  • Continuation of the optional state asset test for FAP benefits. Beginning in October 2011, the Department of Human Services adopted an asset test for FAP eligibility that is not required under federal law. FAP households/groups must now have less than $5,000 in assets, including the value of vehicles after certain exemptions.
  • No resolution of the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the federal Farm Bill. The governor’s budget was released right before the Farm Bill was passed by Congress and therefore does not address federal cuts related to the “Heat and Eat” provisions of the bill. The Heat and Eat option, which has been utilized by 16 states including Michigan, allows states to use a standard utility allowance in determining food assistance benefits, including situations where eligible households receive a nominal $1 per year in energy assistance through the Low Income Health and Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). As a result, Michigan has been able to enhance the very modest Food Assistance benefits for some households, particularly important on the heels of a cut in benefits for all FAP recipients in November of 2013 due to the loss of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Under the new Farm Bill, the nominal LIHEAP payment was increased to a minimum of $20 per years. Eight states, including New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, Montana, Massachusetts and Vermont have already announced that they will meet the new $20 minimum and continue current benefits for low income families, while three additional states are considering the change.

The House Fiscal Agency estimates—based on Fiscal Year 2010 data—that continuing the Heat and Eat option in Fiscal Year 2015 will require an additional $8.4 million in LIHEAP spending, but will prevent the loss of approximately $250 million in federal food assistance. Failure to raise the LIHEAP payment to $20 will result in the loss of $88 per month in food assistance for more than 235,000 low income families.

State Disability Assistance

The SDA, a totally state funded program, provides cash assistance to disabled adults who are permanently or temporarily unable to work, and have annual incomes of less than $5,400, and assets of less than $3,000.13 The average monthly payment for a single person is $225 per month, and the average length of time on SDA is approximately one year.

Beginning Oct., 2011, new SDA cases in independent living arrangements can receive at most $200, rather than the $269 available under previous policy.14 With fair market rent for a one-bedroom home of $530 in 2013, the typical SDA recipient has no income left to cover other basic needs such as transportation, personal items, clothing, utilities and other shelter costs.

Adjusted for inflation, SDA payments decreased (in 2005 dollars) from $264 in Fiscal Year 2005 to $169 in Fiscal Year 2013—a decline of 36%. SDA payments have fallen from 31% of the federal poverty line in 2006 to 20% of poverty in 2013. Even with the addition of food assistance benefits, new SDA recipients subsisted at 40% of the federal poverty line in 2013.16

The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes:

  • A reduction in funding for the SDA of 14%. The governor’s budget includes $17.9 million for the SDA, down from the $20.8 million appropriated in the current fiscal year. SDA caseloads have been decreasing since Fiscal Year 2010, in part because of efforts to ensure that SDA recipients who are eligible for SSI are transferred to that program.17
  • A continued reduction in SDA cases. The governor assumes that the SDA caseload will also fall by 14% from the level budgeted in the current fiscal year, with total cases of 6,693 next year.

State Emergency Services

Michigan provides a range of services to low-income families facing emergency situations, including State Emergency Relief (SER), and energy assistance programs. In the current fiscal year, $38.4 million was allocated for SER to be used for local office emergency payments for rent, moving expenses, housing payments and repairs, and non-energy utility assistance; homeless programs; burial costs for indigents; the Food Bank Council; and multicultural contracts.

A total of $197.4 million is available in the current fiscal year for energy assistance, including $164 million in federal block grant funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). In the past, Michigan also received grants from the state’s Public Service Commission for energy assistance, but the courts ruled that the PSC did not have authority to collect restricted fee revenue. The revenue lost from that court decision—nearly $60 million annually—was replaced in Fiscal Year 2013 by nearly $60 million in one-time state General Funds, while the Legislature worked out a new funding mechanism. For Fiscal Year 2014, the Michigan Legislature approved a new surcharge on electric meters to fund the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP).18

The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes:

  • No change in energy assistance appropriations. The governor recommends restoring $25 million to LIHEAP that was transferred in the current fiscal year to an energy self-sufficiency program. The federal LIHEAP block grant is determined each year through the federal appropriations process.
  • Continuation funding of $60 million for the Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP). The MEAP was created in response to a state law (P.A. 615 of 2012) requiring DHS to establish a new consolidated program with a single, simplified application.
  • Continuation funding of $38.4 for State Emergency Relief services, including $13.6 million for local DHS office emergency services, $15.8 million for homeless services through the Salvation Army, $4.3 million for indigent burial services, $1.8 million for the Food Bank Council, and $3 million for multicultural services. The governor removes budget boilerplate language that specified certain multicultural services grants, adding new language that appropriates the funding based on as competitive grant process that includes performance-related metrics.

Child Welfare Services

Michigan’s child welfare system, including protective services, foster care, adoption and family preservation and prevention services account for approximately 28% of all state General Funds in the DHS budget. Funding for child welfare staffing has increased in recent years as the state has been required to comply with a settlement agreement resulting from a lawsuit related to its failure to protect children.

The governor’s budget for Fiscal Year 2015 includes:

  • A slight increase in funding for foster care services. The governor recommends $190.3 million for foster care payments, up slightly from the $187.7 million appropriated for this year. Included are a reduction of $2.4 million ($1 million state General Funds) to reflect a projected decline in foster care cases from 6,250 this year to 6,075 in Fiscal Year 2015, as well as a $5 million increase in funding to pay 100% of the private child placing agency administrative rate for new cases entering care.

Foster care cases have been falling, and with the governor’s projections will be down 43% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2015.19

  • An increase of 4% in the County Child Care Fund. The governor includes $178 million for the Child Care Fund, an increase of 4% over the current year appropriation. The Child Care Fund provides for the care and treatment of delinquent or maltreated children that are court wards and not eligible for federal payments through Title IV-E. The primary sources of funding for the Child Care Fund are state General Funds (49.8%) and federal TANF (48.5%).

 

  • A small decrease in funding for adoption subsidies. The governor includes $241 million for adoption subsidies, a small decrease from the current year appropriation of $244 million. Subsidies are provided to families adopting children with special needs, and include both cash and medical subsidies for preexisting medical or mental health conditions. Adoption subsidy average monthly caseloads increased by 11% between Fiscal years 2005 and 2010, and have since stabilized at approximately 27,000. The major sources of funding for adoption subsidies are Title IV-E (46%), State General Funds (33%), and federal TANF (21%).
  • No reinvestment in prevention and family preservation services. The governor provides continuation funding for Strong Families/Safe Children ($12.35 million), Family Reunification ($3.98 million), and family preservation and prevention services programs ($2.5 million). Small cuts were made in the Families First program (from $17.2 million to $16.9 million), and the Child Protection and Permanency program ($13.2 million to $12.9 million).

Funding for major child abuse and neglect prevention programs has been stagnant or cut—in the face of increased reports of maltreatment and growing victimization. Total funding for family preservation and prevention programs fell from $60.6 million in Fiscal Year 2005 to $49.3 million in the current fiscal year—a reduction of nearly 19%.20 The number of substantiated victims of child abuse and neglect grew by more than 20% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2013, with 37% of those victims under the age of 4.21

Endnotes

1. Green Book Report of Key Program Statistics, Michigan Department of Human Services (January 2014). Includes FIP, SDA, FAP, CDC and Medicaid recipients.
2. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, House Fiscal Agency (December 2013).
3. Jeffries, E., State Budget Overview, Senate Fiscal Agency (January 13, 2014).
4. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, op. cit.
5. Review and Analysis of FY 2014-15 and FY 2015-16 Executive Recommendation, House Fiscal Agency (February 2014).
6. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, op. cit.
7. Trend Report of Key Programs Statistics, January 2014; and Key Statistics for FY 2007, FY 2008 and FY 2009, Michigan Department of Human Services.
8. Extended Family Independence Program (EFIP) Cases, Recipients and Payments—Fiscal Years 2005, 2006, and 2007, Michigan Department of Human Services.
9. Trend Report of Key Program Statistics, Department of Human Services (February 2014).
10. Koorstra, K., Summary: Executive Budget Recommendation for Fiscal Years 2014-15 and 2015-16, Department of Human Services, House Fiscal Agency (February 19, 2014).
11. Ibid.
12. Green Book Report of Key Program Statistics, op. cit.
13. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, op. cit.
14. Koorstra, K., and Burris, T., Line Item and Boilerplate Summary for Human Services, House Fiscal Agency (September 2013).
15. Michigan Department of Human Services Information Packet, DHS Budget and Grant Management Division (June 2013).
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, op. cit.
19. Koorstra, K., Human Services Background Briefing, House Fiscal Agency (December 2013), and FY 2014-15 and FY 2015-16 Budget Detail for Health and Human Services, House Fiscal Agency (February 2014).
20. Information from K. Koorstra, House Fiscal Agency.
21. Letter to Senator Bruce Caswell, Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Human Services, and Representative Peter MacGregor, Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Human Services, from Susan Kangas, Chief Financial Officer, Michigan Department of Human Services (January 1, 2014).

 

A Closer Look at the Governor’s FY 2015 Budget for the Department of Community Health

Full report in PDF

The governor’s budget recommends total funding for DCH of $17.4 billion, including $2.9 billion in state General Fund dollars, an increase of approximately 3% over the current year adjusted appropriation of $16.9 billion. The bulk of the funding is for the state’s Medicaid and Healthy Michigan Plan programs (74%), followed by mental health and substance use disorder services (18%).

The budget for the Department of Community Health is the state’s largest, growing by over 60% between Fiscal Years 2005 and 2014. Of note, is that the state General Fund investment has only increased 13% over the FY 2005 appropriation. This year, federal funds make up nearly 69% of the DCH budget.

The FY 15 budget includes many positive recommendations including full-year funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan, continued expansion of Healthy Kids Dental, continuation of half of the primary care rate increase, funding to begin implementation of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission recommendations, restoration of funding for senior meals and services, to name a few.

However, there have been troubling shortfalls identified in the Medicaid health plan services as well as in the public mental health system. Also troubling is the acknowledgement in the budget of the shortfall in the Health Insurance Claims Tax with no recommendation to resolve it. These funds are used to match federal funds to provide Medicaid services.

In addition, we continue to be concerned about the practice of taking ongoing program funding and arbitrarily reclassifying all or part of it as “one-time” funding as has been done with graduate medical education and several other programs over the last several years.

Details on specific Executive Budget recommendations follow:

Medicaid: Approximately one in every five Michigan residents is enrolled in Medicaid for their healthcare coverage, and more than half of all births in the state are paid for by the program. In each of the last three years, half of the children in the state have been covered by Medicaid as child poverty in Michigan continues to increase. In the current fiscal year, the governor projects that 1.82 million Michigan residents will be covered by Medicaid, with an additional 214,000 benefiting from the implementation of the Healthy Michigan Plan that will take effect on April 1.

  • The governor’s budget for 2015 recognizes state General Fund savings of over $243 million as a result of federal approval of Michigan’s waiver to expand Medicaid through the Healthy Michigan Plan effective April 1, 2014. The savings are realized because the state currently spends 100% state General Funds for limited services to very low-income uninsured individuals, and with the expansion, federal funds would be available to pay for services for this population. The governor recommends that half of the savings, or $122 million, be placed in a newly created Health Savings Fund that would ensure that the state has sufficient funds to cover the future reductions in federal matching funds. Healthy Michigan Plan funding is 100% federal funding for calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016. The federal funding declines during calendar years 2017- 2019, reaching 90% in 2020 where it remains.
  • The Healthy Michigan Plan, championed by Gov. Snyder, will provide comprehensive health coverage to about 400,000 currently uninsured people in the state through 2015, nearly doubling the projected enrollment for FY 14. This comprehensive program covers individuals with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level. Full-year funding of $2.2 billion, all federal funds, is recommended. A staffing increase of 36 positions is included to administer the program.
  • The governor recommends $25.2 million for autism services, down from $35.2 million this year. The funding reduction does not represent a program reduction rather it represents a slow start due to the need to develop provider capacity. To increase needed capacity, $3 million in continuing “one-time” funding, increased from $2 million in the current fiscal year, is recommended to train autism services providers through the creation of university autism centers. One million dollars each is allocated to Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University and Michigan State University.
  • Funding of $26 million in state funds, bringing in $49.4 million in federal funds, is recommended to continue approximately half of the rate increase for primary care providers. This rate increase, required in FY 13 and FY 14, was 100% federally funded for the first two calendar years. In calendar year 2015, the rate increase is no longer required or 100% federally funded, so a state investment is required to continue.
  • The special payment for rural and sole community hospitals is recommended for elimination. It was classified as “one-time” funding in FY 12, but converted to ongoing funding for FY 13 and FY 14.

Healthy Kids Dental: Michigan currently provides enhanced dental services to more than 500,000 children in 78 counties. Access to dental services is essential to prevent tooth decay, the number one chronic disease in children.

  • The governor recommends $5.4 million in state General Fund and $10.3 million in federal funds to expand the Healthy Kids Dental program to an additional 100,000 children in Kalamazoo and Macomb counties. With that expansion, the program would cover over 611,000 children in 80 of 83 Michigan counties.
  • Not yet covered are more than 400,000 children in three of the most populated Michigan counties that are the home to many low-income children and children of color, including Wayne, Oakland and Kent counties. Healthy Kids Dental improves access to care by partnering with Delta Dental of Michigan to increase provider reimbursement rates and simplify administration.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services: Since Fiscal Year 2005, Medicaid-related mental health spending has increased by over 50%, while non-Medicaid spending has decreased, leaving thousands of residents without needed services. Funding for substance use disorder services increased by 12%, largely because of increases in federal funding, but fewer individuals were served in FY 13 than in the previous nine years, despite the growing problem with heroin/other opiates addiction.

  • With the expansion of Medicaid eligibility, individuals enrolled in the Healthy Michigan Plan will also have access to comprehensive mental health and substance use disorder services. As mentioned above, great concern has been raised about the adequacy of the funding to provide the promised services.
  • The governor also recommends $15.6 million in state General Fund, $5 million of which is “one-time” funding, to begin implementation of the recommendations of the Mental Health and Wellness Commission, which released its recommendations for improvements in mental health services in January 2014.
  • The governor recommended $3.4 million in state General Fund for the Mental Health Diversion Council to treat those with mental illness or developmental disabilities in settings other than the criminal justice system. Additional funding of $2.7 million is included in the Judiciary and Corrections budgets.

Public Health and Children’s Services: Nearly two of every three dollars spent on public health services is federal. Over the last decade, nearly all increases in total public health funding have been from federal grants or other sources, while state funding has remained essentially flat.

  • The governor recommends continuation funding of $39.4 million for local public health services. Appropriations for local public health essential services, while increased by $2 million in FY 2014, remain below the Fiscal Year 2005 appropriation.
  •  The governor includes $2.5 million in state funds to conduct a regional needs assessment and expand home visiting services to at-risk families with young children in rural areas in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula.
  • The proposed budget includes $2 million in “one-time” funding for a pilot program to improve child and adolescent health services by working with two existing school-based clinics to identify satellite locations that will be serviced by mobile teams, increasing access to nursing and behavioral health services in schools.
  • The essential health provider program was increased by $600,000 to reflect the projected additional private revenue. This program assists primary care providers who practice in medically underserved areas with the repayment of their educational loans.
  • After three years of “one-time” funding, island (Bois Blanc, Mackinac, Beaver, and Drummond) health clinic funding was converted to ongoing.

Services for the Aging:

  • The governor’s budget includes $5 million in state funds to help eliminate a waiting list of an estimated 4,500 seniors eligible for home-delivered meals ($1.8 million) and in-home services ($3.2 million) provided through Area Agencies on Aging around the state. With this increase in home-delivered meals, the reductions in funding over the last decade have been completely restored.
  • The governor also expands funding by $9 million in state funds, $17.2 million in federal funds to eliminate the waiting list for the MIChoice program that provides in-home and community services to help seniors or those with disabilities remain in their homes rather than moving to nursing homes, serving an additional 1,250 individuals.
  • The governor recommends the expansion of PACE (Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) to more counties, funded through corresponding savings in nursing home costs.

Healthy Michigan Plan

Full report in PDF

The Healthy Michigan Plan, an expansion and modification of the Medicaid program, will provide comprehensive coverage to Michigan’s low-income, uninsured residents beginning in April.

Eligibility

 

 

 

 

Who is Eligible?

Individuals between the ages of 19 and 64, not currently eligible for Medicaid or Medicare, who:

  • are citizens or lawfully admitted to the U.S., and
  • have incomes less than 133% of the federal poverty level (up to $15,521 for an individual or $31,721 for a family of four).

Coverage

When Will Coverage Begin?

April 1, 2014.

What Services are Covered?

The comprehensive services required by the Affordable Care Act, including doctor visits, prescriptions, hospital services — plus additional key services such as dental, vision, hearing, and enhanced substance use disorder services — will be covered. Most people will select and be enrolled in the managed care plan of their choice.

Costs

What Does it Cost?

Everyone enrolled in the program will be responsible for copays, after the first six months, for certain services such as doctor visits ($2), prescriptions ($1 or $3), and dental services ($3). Copay amounts will be the same as the current Medicaid program. There will be no copay requirements for preventive services or emergency services. Copays can be waived for services that allow enrollees to better manage chronic diseases or prevent complications.

(Note: Calculation of the monthly copay amount starting in the 7th month will be based on the prior 6 months usage.)

Individuals between 100% ($11,670 for an individual, $23,850 for a family of four) and 133% of the federal poverty level will be required to make an income-based contribution to a MI Health Account. This amount will be up to 2% of annual family income, and must be contributed on a monthly basis beginning the 7th month of enrollment. Contributions will not be required during the first six months of enrollment. Contributions can be made by the enrollee, by an employer, charitable organization, family member, or other entity on the enrollee’s behalf.

Both the copay amounts and the 2% contributions can be reduced if “healthy behaviors,” yet to be defined, are maintained or attain-ed. Together they cannot exceed 5% of family income.

Payments

What Happens When Required Payments Are Not Made?

Consequences have not yet been defined, but the plan approved by the federal government specifies that no enrollee will be terminated from the program for failure to pay copays or contributions into the MI Health Account.

How will Payments be Made?

Required copays and contributions will be paid to the health plan selected by the individual. Copays will not be made at the time a service is provided; they will be paid monthly based on the prior six month’s service usage.

Application/Enrollment

When Will Enrollment Begin?

Beginning April 1, new applications will be accepted for enrollment effective April 2014. All applications will be screened for Medicaid eligibility before Healthy Michigan Plan eligibility is approved.

Healthy Michigan Plan enrollment is open year-round.

Those participating in the current Adult Benefits Waiver program are currently being transitioned from that program to the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Those with incomes between 100% and 133% of the federal poverty level who purchased coverage through the Marketplace will also be transitioned from their Marketplace plans to the Healthy Michigan Plan.

The Department hopes to retrieve those Medicaid applications denied on or after Oct. 1, 2013 and reprocess them to determine Healthy Michigan Plan eligibility.

What Is the Enrollment Process?

A streamlined application and eligibility process, using the new tax-related income methodology and no asset test, will be used. Applications will be available by phone, online or in person.

Senate subcommittee approves K-12, ed budgets

Full report in PDF

On March 19, the Senate Subcommittee on K-12 School Aid and Education approved its versions of the Fiscal Year 2015 budgets for School Aid and the Department of Education. The total School Aid budget approved by the Subcommittee was $13.74 billion, which is $372.9 million (2.8%) higher than the current year budget, but $57.5 million lower than the governor’s recommended budget. The MDE budget approved by the Subcommittee was $326.7 million, $28.3 million above the current year, and $86,000 higher than the governor’s recommendation.

Included in the Senate Subcommittee budgets were the following changes:

Per Pupil Foundation Allowance

Governor:
• Includes $150 million for an increase in the foundation allowance of between $83 and $111 per pupil.
• Recommends continuation funding for districts based on performance on four standards (up to $100 per pupil), and up to $52 per pupil for districts that meet 7 of 8 best practices criteria.
• Increases funding for the Michigan Public School Employees’ Retirement System, also known as MPSERS, and uses $100 million in current MPSERS grants to schools to reduce the percentage of payroll schools must pay toward retirement costs.
Senate Subcommittee:
• Provides for increases in the per pupil foundation allowance of between $150 and $300 per pupil, partially funding that increase through the elimination of best practices grants to districts ($80 million) and pupil performance grants ($46.4 million), as well as the distribution of the $100 million in MPSERS grants through the per pupil allowance.
• The Subcommittee provides for a minimum “hold harmless” increase of $75 for districts, reflecting the fact that the loss of best practices, performance grants and MPSERS grants will affect districts differently.

Funding for School Districts in Fiscal Distress

Governor: The governor proposes $10 million for a new Distressed Districts Emergency Grant Fund. The fund would be for districts that are either facing dissolution, or have accepted children from districts that have dissolved. Funds could be used in part to allow districts to provide educational services until the end of the current school year.
Senate Subcommittee: The Subcommittee did not approve funding for the governor’s proposed distressed school district emergency fund.

At-Risk Programs

Governor:
• The governor recommends continuation funding of $309 million for the At-Risk Program, which is available to school districts for a range of instructional and non-instructional services for at-risk students.
• The governor proposes significant changes in the allocation and use of those funds, including:

o Establishing two goals for the use of funds: (1) reading proficiency by the end of third grade; and (2) graduation rates, and career and college readiness. Districts that cannot show success toward those goals after three years must reallocate funds and revise their plans.
o Allowing funds to be used to implement school-wide reforms in schools with 40% or more of pupils identified as at-risk—consistent with the local School Improvement Plan.
o Maintaining the current formula for distributing funds which is based on the number of pupils qualifying for free or reduced meals, but defining “at-risk” students as those who meet any of the following criteria: (1) are enrolled in priority schools; (2) are enrolled in “focus schools” which are in the bottom 30% of achievement; or (3) did not achieve a score of proficient on two or more state assessments. In the absence of assessment data, the pupil must meet at least two of the following: (1) eligible for free- or reduced-price meals; (2) absent more than 10 school days during the year, or 10% of enrolled days; (3) homeless; (4) migrant; (5) English language learner; (6) immigrant; or (7) did not complete high school in four years.

Senate Subcommittee:
• Agreed with the governor by providing $309 million—continuation funding—for the At- Risk Program.
• Rejected the governor’s proposed changes to the goals and allocation of At-Risk dollars.

Child and Adolescent Health Centers

Governor: The governor recommends continuation funding of $3.56 million for child and adolescent health centers.
Senate Subcommittee: The Subcommittee concurs with the governor.

Hearing and Vision Screenings

Governor: The governor recommends continuation funding for hearing and vision screenings at $5.2 million.
Senate Subcommittee: The Subcommittee concurs with the governor.

Early Childhood Education and Care

Governor:
• Preschool Programs: The governor increases funding for the Great Start Readiness Preschool Program by another $65 million, after a $65 million increase in the current year. The governor’s proposal creates another 16,000 half-day slots for 4-year-olds, and brings total funding to $239.6 million in Fiscal Year 2015. The governor also:

o Increases the per slot payment for the GSRP by $100, from $3,625 to $3,725.
o Includes budget language that allows Intermediate School Districts to enroll children from families with incomes of up to 300% of poverty if they can determine that all children at or below 250% of poverty are being served, and there is no waiting list. The highest-need children must be enrolled first.

• Early Childhood Block Grant: The governor provides continuation for the Early Childhood Block Grant to ISDs. Funds are to be used in part for local Great Start Collaboratives and Parent Coalitions.
• Child Care: The governor increases funding for child care subsidies for low-income families by $10.6 million (8%)—from $136.3 million to $146.9 million. New funds are to be used to:

o Increase the maximum allowable reimbursable hours for subsidized child care from 80 to 90 hours in a two-week period, recognizing parents need to travel to work and child care settings ($6.9 million).
o Increase reimbursement rates to higher quality child care providers, based on the state’s Great Start to Quality rating system. Providers with three, four and five star ratings would see progressively higher hourly reimbursements rates ($3.7 million).

Senate Subcommittee
• Preschool Programs:

o Agrees with the governor and increases the GSRP by an additional $65 million.
o Increases the per slot GSRP grant by $50 (not $100 as recommended by the governor), and earmarks funding from the remaining $50 increase ($3.3 million) for transportation costs.
o Allows GSRP enrollments across ISD boundaries.

• Early Childhood Block Grant: The Subcommittee concurs with the governor on funding for the Early Childhood Block Grant.
• Child Care: The Subcommittee concurs with the governor on child care funding, as well as the $10.6 million increase in funding to expand hours of care and increase provider reimbursement rates.

Adult Education

Governor:
• The governor provides continuation funding of $22 million for adult education. Michigan has decreased state funding for adult education drastically in the past 20 years, from $185 million in 1996 to $22 million this year.
• The governor proposes significant changes in the allocation method for adult education funds, including:

o Funds would be allocated to ISDs serving as fiscal agents in each of the 10 “Prosperity Regions” identified by the MDE.
o In Fiscal Year 2015, 67% of the funds would be provided to ISDs based on the proportion of total funding formerly received by the adult education providers in that region. The remaining funds (33%) would be divided based on new criteria that relate to the percentage of high school graduates and English language proficiency. By Fiscal Year 2017, all funds would be allocated based on the new formula.

Senate Subcommittee:
• Agreed with the governor to provide continuation funding of $22 million for adult education.
• Rejected the governor’s new allocation method and formula.

Dual Enrollment Incentives

Governor: The governor includes $1.8 million for incentives for school districts that support dual enrollment. Districts can receive up to $30 for each pupil that enrolls in a course at an eligible post-secondary institution, with an additional $30 provided if the pupil successfully completes the course and is awarded both high school and postsecondary credit.
Senate Subcommittee: The Subcommittee concurred with the governor.

Year-Around School Pilot Projects

Governor: The governor includes $2 million for year-around school pilot projects in school districts that are eligible for the community eligibility option for free and reduced price lunches.
Senate Subcommittee: The Subcommittee concurred with the governor on funding, but limited any individual grant to $250,000.

– Pat Sorenson

Rebuilding the Michigan Homestead Property Tax Credit

 Full report in PDF

Governor Snyder’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget includes $102.7 million for an expansion of the Homestead Property Tax Credit, which was cut in 2011. This will benefit middle-income families, seniors and veterans, in particular.

The HPTC is a refundable credit available to eligible Michigan residents who pay high property taxes or rent in relation to their income. As it stands now the HPTC applies to those with total income under $50,000 and taxable home value beneath $135,000.

For general taxpayers, the credit is equal to 60% of the amount that property taxes (or 20% of rent) exceed 3.5% of income. For filers who are age 65 or older with an income of $21,000 or less, the credit is 100%. For filers who are disabled, the credit is 100%. The maximum credit is $1,200.

In 2011, the HPTC was just one of many credits and exemptions that were reduced in order to offset the elimination of the Michigan Business Tax. The HPTC was taken away from those with income over $50,000 but less than $82,650. This tax shift took effect in tax year 2012, with fewer residents being eligible for the HPTC than in past years.

The governor’s proposed 2015 budget raises the HPTC income threshold to $60,000 and changes the income multiplier from 3.5% to 3%.

If the proposed expansion of the HPTC passes it will be the third change to the HPTC in as many years. The change would affect 1.3 million taxpayers. It would increase HPTC refunds an additional $100 million averaging an increase of $80 per qualified taxpayer. The credit would be retroactive for tax year 2013 but would still fall 27% short of 2011 funding totals. Under the governor’s proposal, with the proposed lower-income multiplier and a higher-income allowance, more general taxpayers would benefit.

Source: Department of Treasury
Does not include the Farmland Preservation Tax Credit.

Annual Report 2013

 Full report in PDF

Securing the Future With an Endowment

The year 2013 was a watershed one with the creation of a $2.4 million Nokomis Foundation Legacy endowment that will secure the future of the Michigan League for Public Policy as a progressive voice and leader in state public policy.

It was also a year of important policy gains for vulnerable families, children and individuals. The League joined a strong coalition to successfully push Medicaid expansion in Michigan, one of the few states with GOP leadership to do so. This will mean as many as 500,000 uninsured adults will get the healthcare they need. The League’s local data and across-the-aisle relationships were often cited as essential help in the uphill fight, and a League policy brief was included in the press packets from Gov. Rick Snyder.

Another important policy win for children was the opening of additional spaces for young children in need of preschool — $65 million in new dollars. While the involvement of the business community made the difference, the League’s Kids Count data over the years was central to highlighting the need for this.

The League also launched a popular “Budget Briefs” project, making the state budget process more accessible to citizens.

In addition, the League:

  • Continued to fight to restore the Michigan Earned Income Tax Credit, cut from 20% to 6%.
  • Pushed back against huge potential cuts in food assistance in Congress with a media blitz highlighting the loss.
  • Helped stall a bill to retain third graders behind in reading, by citing research and data.
  • Highlighted data that shows average workers have lost ground over three decades.
  • Supported the minimum wage fight with strong data.
  • Connected the faith community with budget basics to encourage involvement.
  • Joined Priorities Michigan, a civic engagement and education project, to elevate the needs of citizens in the budget debate.
  • Grew the Prosperity Coalition to 270 organizations that share common goals of lifting children and families out of poverty, minimizing disparities and fostering racial equity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reports & Comments

In 2013, the League produced more than 300 reports, fact sheets, letters to policymakers, written testimonies, e-newsletters, alerts, news releases and blogs on timely matters. It broadened its reach with the effective use of infographics, videos and interactive maps.

Among key communications:

  • Series of Budget Briefs detailing the state budget priorities
  • The Path to Prosperity: Ten Steps Michigan Must Take to Strengthen Its Economy
  • Michigan’s Paycheck Blues
  • Medicaid Expansion Could Benefit Michigan Babies
  • Michigan’s EITC Helps Working Families
  • Losing Ground: A Call for Meaningful Tax Reform in Michigan
  • Michigan’s Health Insurance Marketplace Will Open for Business Oct. 1
  • Raising the Minimum Wage: Good for Working Families, Good for Michigan’s Economy

In addition, the League’s website had more than 48,000 visitors in 2013, and there were nearly 700 media stories citing the League’s work or perspective. The staff addressed close to 2,500 people in presentations, policy forums and webinars. The League’s social media presence grew with more than 4,500 followers on Twitter, Facebook and the League’s blog, Factually Speaking.

Board of Directors

Gilda Z. Jacobs, President & CEO

Message from the President and CEO 

As you read through this annual report, I hope you will note the many donors who support the League and those who contributed to the Nokomis Foundation Legacy endowment. All of you have truly made a difference.

Because of your support, the League was able to rise to the challenge from the Nokomis Foundation. In all, a $2.4 million endowment was created.

Nokomis was founded in Grand Rapids by Twink Frey who had a vision and desire to lift up the voices of girls and women. Our focus on low-income mothers and children – through research on poverty, wages, healthcare and safety net programs, as well as the Kids Count project – will ensure Twink’s mission will continue for many, many years to come.

In 2013, the League staff made data more accessible and easily available than ever. Our “Mapping the Facts” project was accessed several thousand times from the League’s website, putting key county data on employment, poverty and population in one spot at your fingertips.

The League’s “Budget Briefs” work meant that advocates and concerned citizens had accessible, timely information on the budget in order to make a difference in those budgets.

The distribution of thousands of copies of Money Back in Michigan meant that more low-income families were able to claim all of their tax credits with the use of free tax help.

Our use of webinars, policy forums, social media, infographics, interactive maps, e-news and videos continues to expand.

The League’s board, too, continues to grow stronger, bringing a wealth of expertise from many walks of life.

Thank you for your support in 2013. It was a year filled with many challenges and much hope. 

League Staff

Gilda Z. Jacobs, President and CEO
Jackie Benson, Receptionist/Membership Associate
Paul Diefenbach, Data Analyst
Jason Escareno, Senior Policy Analyst
Karen Holcomb-Merrill, Policy Director
Jan Hudson, Senior Policy Analyst
Phyllis Killips, Assistant to the President
Tillie Kucharek, Graphic Designer
Yannet Lathrop, Policy Analyst
Mary Logan, Administrative Support Staff
Shannon Nobles, Outreach Specialist
Judy Putnam, Communications Director
Peter Ruark, Senior Policy Analyst
Danielle Smith, Prosperity Coalition Coordinator
Pat Sorenson, Senior Policy Analyst
Renell Weathers, Outreach Director
Ben Wells, Insurance Associate
Lawrence Wells, Chief Operating Officer
Jane Zehnder-Merrell, Kids Count Project Director

 Affiliations

Next Page »