notobacco

ITPC Funding May Be Cut

In State News on June 5, 2009 at 7:54 am

In the first state budget Gov. Daniels proposed, ITPC funding was cut from about $16M to $14.5M. When that budget didn’t pass, Daniels proposed another budget that cut ITPC funding to $10.8M. ITPC says they could live with $14.5M but $10.8M would mean drastic cuts in services that save the state billions of dollars in healthcare costs and help thousands of Hoosiers quit using tobacco.

If you feel tobacco cessation services are important — and they are because they save us so much in healthcare costs and keep so many kids from starting to use tobacco in the first place — then call your legislators and let them know that they should not approve less than $14.5M for ITPC.

Here’s a letter that was sent to the Special Joint Budget Committe:

To:    Special Joint Budget Committee
From:  Organizations listed below
Date:  June 4, 2009
RE:   Urgent opposition to drastic and unfair proposed tobacco prevention funding cuts

The organizations below are joining together to strongly urge Indiana legislators to oppose proposed drastic funding cuts to Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Agency and ask that the agency’s budget be set at $14.5 million per year for the next biennium.

The most recent budget proposal by Governor Daniels this week recommends ITPC’s budget to be only $10.85 million per year and would result in drastic program cutbacks. We understand that with the current economic climate all agencies needed to tighten their belts and although we don’t want to see any cuts to tobacco prevention and cessation, we accepted the program annual funding would need to be reduced from its current $16.2 million per year funding to $14.5 million per year funding as was proposed the final budget conference at the end of the regular session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Cutting the program to $10.85 million annually as proposed in the Governor’s special session budget is drastic and represents an additional 25% cut on top of the previous cut.   The bottom line is that this type of significant cut will seriously reduce programs and services.  It does not make good health or economic policy sense to cut into life saving and cost saving tobacco prevention programs at such a disproportionate amount compared with the overall state spending reduction.  Tobacco prevention and cessation programs directly address a health epidemic that costs our state $2.08 billion dollars in direct health care costs annually and cost Medicaid alone $487 million annually.

If Indiana is serious about its fiscal health in particular, we should not cut programs that are a key to reigning in skyrocketing healthcare costs.  9,800 Indiana kids become addicted to tobacco each year, and Indiana already has one of the highest smoking rates in the country.  Further, smoking rates are significantly higher among people participating in Medicaid and other state programs.  Tobacco prevention and cessation efforts are helping thousands of Hoosiers quit through cessation programs and our quitline, while saving the state money in the long-term.

Simply put it would be pennywise and pound foolish to so severely cut a program that results in lower health care costs and improved economic development opportunities as it saves lives and prevents diseases, especially in this economic environment. 

We call on the Indiana General Assembly to oppose any cut that reduces funding below the amount of $14.5 million per year for ITPC for the next biennium.

Jointly signed by the following organizations:

American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
American Lung Association
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition
Indiana Academy of Family Physicians
Indiana Black Expo
Indiana Collaborative for Healthier Rural Communities
Indiana Latino Institute
Indiana Minority Health Coalition
Indiana Public Health Association
Indiana Rural Health Association 

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