Though First Lady Jane Beshear made headlines Monday when it was discovered neither she nor Gov. Steve Beshear had checked off a donation box to support breast cancer research on their state income tax returns — something the first lady has encouraged taxpayers to do — the governor announced Tuesday the formation of a foundation exclusively committed to reducing the rates of several types of cancer.
Gov. Beshear, who was treated for prostate cancer in 1994, joined members of the newly-formed Kentucky Cancer Foundation to announce their plans
to reduce lung, colon, breast and cervical cancer rates. To do so, foundation members will raise private funds and pursue grants to pay for services like mammograms, pap smears, smoking cessation programs and colon cancer screenings.
The public-private collaboration would focus first on screening 4,000 uninsured Kentuckians for colon cancer. Beshear has put $1 million for the screenings in his current budget proposal.
“Our most recent information shows more than 24,000 new cases of cancer in Kentucky each year and of those, more than 9,500 Kentuckians die from these cancers,” Beshear said. “This is a real problem in our state that is affecting the lives of every family. As a cancer survivor, I know firsthand that screenings and an early diagnosis will help save our citizens from this horrible disease.” (Read more)
As for the tax gaff, the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s Jack Brammer reports the 2010 returns show the Beshears did opt to check the box to donate at least $2 of their taxes to the Kentucky Democratic Party.
Diane L. Brumback, a Northern Kentucky breast-cancer survivor and Democrat who participated in a news conference with Beshear in January to promote the state-run Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund, said Monday the first lady should stop promoting the cause “if she is not going to do as she says.”
A Beshear spokeswoman underscored that the governor and first lady are very charitable. “On their 2010 tax return, you’ll see they donated nearly $19,000 of their gross income — that’s more than 11 percent of their before-tax income,” said spokeswoman Kerri Richardson. “Not only do they donate money to many worthy causes, including those that support breast-cancer research, but they give their time and energy to promoting those charities and non-profit organizations.” (Read more)