Program: Consumer involvement program

Appropriation:

All from GF/GP:

$189,100

Total:

$189,100

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Consumer Involvement program. This program is designed to help consumers participate in policy forums and self-help groups. It also funds a consumer "hotline."

Recommended Action:

Eliminate this program. Consumers are capable of such participation without a state program. Consumers have been buying and selling goods in the marketplace and solving consumer-related problems since long before this state program. If this service is needed it should be provided through a voluntary association. Savings: $189,100. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.

Program: Gambling addiction

Appropriation:

All from Special Revenue Funds:

$3,500,000

Total:

$3,500,000

Program Description:

This appropriation subsidizes education and research into pathological gambling and its treatment, and the operation of a 24-hour "help line." The services are funded with revenue from the Michigan State Lottery, Department of Agriculture (horse racing) and by the three Detroit casinos.

Recommended Action:

The state could cease this operation entirely and redirect revenues to the General Fund. Few policy issues better illustrate contradictory functions of state government than gambling. On the one hand, nearly all forms of gambling have historically been illegal, and most still are. Yet for the last 30 years the state has owned and run its own gambling operation, the state lottery, and it sanctions and profits from a growing number of casinos around the state. Now, the state both encourages gambling through the Michigan State Lottery, and also discourages it through this program. Those with gambling problems do need help, but such assistance should be provided by local community organizations. Savings: $3,500,000. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.

Program: Mental health initiatives for older persons

Appropriation:

Federal Funds

$300,000

All from GF/GP:

$1,049,200

Total:

$1,349,200

Program Description:

This appropriation funds respite care (substitute caregivers who give regular caregivers a "respite") and daycare services; it also provides training in Alzheimer’s Disease and related health issues to home healthcare providers. In fiscal year 2003, $385,000 went to training, data analysis, research and technical assistance (33 percent of the total allocation) while $780,600 (67 percent) went to respite and daycare services. [6]

Recommended Action:

This program could be eliminated. Where needed, these services should be provided and funded by local community organizations. Institutions of civil society can, should be, and are providing these services. For example, the Lansing Area Parents Respite Center has compiled a guide listing numerous private and public providers of such services, and they are not the only group to do so. Savings: $1,349,200. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.