Tuesday, December 14, 1999
1st Tobacco Payment Expands Respite Care, Puts "Life Science Corridor" into MotionMichigan taxpayers will receive the first payment of the tobacco settlement in time for the holiday season announced Governor Engler today. A payment of $107.5 million, anticipated to arrive later this week, will be the first infusion of settlement money the state has received. This funding will be used to support a variety of programs and services including elder and long-term care; health and aging research and development; and educational scholarships. "I am thrilled to announce that Michigan will be receiving its first installment of the tobacco settlement earlier than expected. This is a perfect holiday gift to the taxpayers of the state. I have charged state agencies to speed up their planning process so that we can put the funding to use as quickly as possible," said Engler. "This settlement allows the State to put funding into programs that benefit all Michigan taxpayers by fostering research in the life sciences, caring for our elderly and home-bound citizens and improving the quality of life for some of our most vulnerable citizens and improving education." Revenues from the tobacco settlement are funding several exciting programs and projects. Receiving the funding earlier than anticipated will allow state agencies to implement and enhance a variety of programs. With $5 million in funding, the Office of Services to the Aging will expand its Senior Respite Care program to provide relief to caregivers of senior citizens. "85% of all home care is provided by family members or friends," said Office of Services to the Aging Director Lynn Alexander. "Senior respite care provides much needed relief to the caregivers who devote themselves to improving the quality of life of a senior in need."The Senior Respite Care program has a current appropriation of $3 million and in fiscal year 1998 served more than 1,420 persons with adult day care services and more than 5,300 persons with in home respite. With an additional $5 million in funding, the Senior Respite Care program will allow for more people to be served and with greater frequency.The Health and Aging Research and Development Initiative, also known as the "Life Sciences Corridor" is an innovative new program receiving $50 million per year in tobacco revenues for the development of technology corridor that will stretch from Detroit to West Michigan. The state will invest some $1 billion over 20 years to support the growth of new science technologies and companies within this corridor. This program will support research projects and efforts to attract and grow life science technology companies. This January, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC ) will be completing the development of the Life Sciences Corridor Program Guidelines. Currently, MEDC is conducting a national search for a Managing Director. The Governor will be appointing a 14-member Life Sciences Steering Committee early next year to oversee the effort. A significant amount of the settlement will be placed into the Michigan Merit Award Trust Fund. It is expected that more than 20,000 high school students will qualify for scholarships this year alone. Qualification for the $2,500 scholarship is based on performance on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) High School Test. Other programs receiving support through tobacco settlement revenues include:One-time funding of $75 million for career development activities geared toward meeting future workforce needs; $30 million for the senior drug prescription program;One-time funding of $10 million for long-term care innovation grants; and The Council of Michigan Foundations will receive tobacco settlement interest earnings generated by the portion of the settlement not deposited into the Merit Trust Fund. The Council will use the funding to support local efforts focused on youth and senior health needs. Last November, Michigan and 45 other states agreed to a $206 billion settlement with the nation's four largest tobacco manufacturers. Michigan is expected to receive a total of more than $8.5 billion over the next 25 years.The settlement of the state's litigation with tobacco manufacturers will generate approximately $352 million in fiscal year 2000 revenue. In addition to the initial payment of $107 million the state is scheduled to receive $93 million on January 10, 2000 and $152 million on April 15, 2000.