A bill filed this week by four N.C. House Republicans would create a box to check on income tax forms allowing taxpayers to donate part of their tax refunds to pay for breast and cervical cancer screenings.
The N.C. Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program offers free or low-cost screenings to about 12,000 women annually and is funded by a $1.5 million annual allocation in the state budget. The goal is to save lives through early cancer detection for people who couldn’t otherwise afford screenings.
“Clearly we can do more with more resources,” said Rep. Nelson Dollar of Cary, who’s a primary sponsor of the bill along with fellow Republican Reps. Julia Howard, Sarah Stevens and Susan Martin. “This as an innovative way to give folks an opportunity with their income taxes.”
Several of the legislators supporting the bill are cancer survivors themselves. “I am the poster child of the annual mammogram,” said Rep. Holly Grange, a Wilmington Republican. “That early detection allowed me to avoid chemotherapy and hopefully avoid any recurrence of cancer. This bill is very important to me.”
The tax return “check-off” option would be voluntary, and taxpayers could decide how much – if any – of their refund they want to donate. The current tax forms include two options for donations: The N.C. Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund and the N.C. Education Endowment Fund.
Asked why legislators didn’t allocate more state funding to the screening program instead, Martin said “this raises awareness in a way we wouldn’t be able to if it was just a line in the budget.”
After the bill was filed, 34 additional legislators signed on as co-sponsors.