Make the call! Write the email! Click to find contact information for your legislators, Senate leadership, Senate Appropriations Committee members, House leadership, House Appropriations Committee Members, and Governor Whitmer.
Diane Conners | Senior Policy Specialist with Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities reports:
10 Cents a Meal has been eliminated from the state budget—the victim of one of nearly 150 line item vetoes Governor Gretchen Whitmer handed down this week in what is being called an historically tense budget process.
Now it’s time to move to the next step – and there is one. The legislature can move forward on a supplemental budget process to restore the program, and Gov. Whitmer can then join legislative leaders at the negotiating table. Let’s call on them to do that—the supplemental budget process and negotiations. Contact your legislators and Gov. Whitmer now. Read below for more information on how to do this.
The governor and the legislature, bruised as they may be, have been challenging each other to truly negotiate. And they should, immediately. Delaying negotiations means delaying momentum in a healthy school lunch program—a win-win for students and farmers—that was poised this year to finally be available to school districts across the entire state.
10 Cents is a matching grant program that helps schools purchase Michigan grown fruits, vegetables, and dry beans. Because it’s an incentive match program, it doubles the state’s investment in Michigan’s economy. And it puts the wide variety of fruits and vegetables our state grows on the plates of our children. It’s investing in children’s health and our local food and farm economy.
10 Cents has received national recognition, bipartisan support, and endorsements from school, health, and farm advocates across the state.
Those who have either signed up as supporters or provided statements of support include Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Farmers Union, Michigan Food and Farming Systems, the School Nutrition Association of Michigan, the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Healthy Kids-Healthy Michigan, Michigan League for Public Policy, and school districts ranging from those in Detroit and Flint to the state’s Upper Peninsula.
State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, who led the effort to expand the program statewide with $2 million in funding in the budget—before the veto—said he even thought of the program as not just bipartisan, but “nonpartisan.” Legislators in agricultural areas immediately understood the value, and legislators from urban areas, when they learned of the 10 Cents program, asked: “How can I get this for my schools?” Schmidt said.
And Governor Whitmer originally included the program in her budget as well, and also recognized it in her policy priorities when she was campaigning to be governor, despite the fact that 10 Cents was originally moved forward by Republicans.
The governor’s previous support of 10 Cents showed a win-win attitude, and that’s what we need. We need things we can agree upon. Make this one of them.
Here are steps for contacting legislators and Governor Whitmer:
Ask your legislators to call on legislative leaders—the Senate Majority Leader, Speaker of the House, and Appropriations Committee members and chairs in both chambers — to move forward a supplemental budget process that includes:
- Restoring the legislature’s expanded $2 million in funding for 10 Cents a Meal
- Expanding 10 Cents so it is available to school districts statewide, and
- Adding in eligibility for sponsors of early child care centers.
If you have limited time, start with your own legislators, asking them to contact legislative leaders.
And then call on Governor Whitmer to respond affirmatively. Tell her why the program is valuable to you.
School has started. Let’s do this now.
Here is where you can find contact information for your legislators, Senate leadership, Senate Appropriations Committee members, House leadership, House Appropriations Committee Members, and Governor Whitmer.
If you need more information about the impacts of 10 Cents a Meal, check out the reports to the legislature at tencentsmichigan.org.