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LETTER: Don’t change the Fund for a Healthy Maine

To the Editor:

The Fund for a Healthy Maine (Maine’s share of the Tobacco Settlement Agreement) is a key component of changing our culture to that of a healthier community.

Talk about getting a “bang for the buck!” The Fund for a Healthy Maine provides a return of approximately $7.50 for every dollar spent. This money belongs to all Maine people, and it should be used the way it was intended: to prevent disease and promote good health for all Maine people.

The Healthy Maine Partnerships do that. Our local Healthy Maine Partnership, Healthy Androscoggin, has made great strides in our community to curb smoking and underage drinking, as well as to encourage exercise and healthy eating. These efforts reach our entire community, schools and particularly businesses.

The Fund for a Healthy Maine is the backbone of these efforts and provides opportunity to bring many more dollars into our community by leveraging additional funding sources to educate all of our local residents. When times are tough, it is easy to take away from preventative programs. But we must not be shortsighted.

The State of Maine must keep the successful programs that give us the best “bang for the buck,” and the fund for a Healthy Maine does just that. The Governor and the Legislature have tough decisions ahead. I urge them to see that this source of non-taxpayer dollars should not be changed to supplement their rainy day or general fund.

Jennifer Willey

Local businessperson

Volunteer Board Member for Healthy Androscoggin

Resident of Lewiston

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