The Associated Press story just sent out has an expanded version which gets into greater detail about the history of tax check offs in New York State. The expanded version is attached below

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York taxpayers will have the option of contributing to 13 causes next year that will include educational efforts to prevent women’s cancers and against the stigma of mental illness.

At the same time, another new state law will generally require spending contributions in the fiscal year they’re collected, meant to stop leaving millions of donated dollars languishing as the state comptroller found in a report almost two years ago.

“New Yorkers are generously giving to causes they care about, but the money is piling up in some funds,” said Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell Jr., Ways and Means Committee chairman, in his sponsor’s memo. That’s more than $50 million donated since the first check-off fund was established in 1982, while auditors reported more than $14 million went unspent for years.

While the measures were signed only last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, tax department spokesman Geoffrey Gloak said the 2015 income tax forms appearing in January will include the two new causes affecting millions of people.

“One in four people in New York and the nation suffer with mental illness and the worst part of the illness is the mythology that people with mental illness are violent and crazy,” said Glenn Liebman, chief executive of the Mental Health Association of New York State. “Two out of every three people who need mental health services never seek these services for fear of being labeled as crazy or psychotic. This has to change.”

The new cancer fund is for education and prevention of cervical, endometrial, gestational trophoblastic tumor, ovarian, uterine sarcoma, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

Contributions already support wildlife management, Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, breast cancer research, homeless veterans, missing children, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer programs, World Trade Center memorials, volunteer firefighter recruitment, teen health education and veterans’ cemeteries.

The spending law requires new annual spending reports, while specifying “to the extent practicable” each state agency administering a fund ensures spending all money in the year it’s collected. Similar provisions already applied to the breast cancer and firefighters funds. Both accumulated balances anyway.

The Prostate Cancer Fund, created in 2004, was faulted for spending none of nearly $2.9 million, donations plus matching state grants, that, by law, was to go to the New York State Coalition to Cure Prostate Cancer. That nonprofit, based in Santa Monica, California, filed only one 2006 report and lost its exemption in 2011, according to New York’s attorney general.

Lawmakers in 2014 renamed it the Prostate and Testicular Cancer Research and Education Fund and removed the reference in the law to the coalition.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

From: Mhanysupdate [mailto:mhanysupdate-bounces@mhanys.org] On Behalf Of Glenn Liebman
Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2015 10:02 AM
To: MHANYS Update
Subject: [MHANYS Update] Associated Press Story on the Tax Check Off to Create Public Awareness to Address Issues of the Stigma of Mental Illness

Yesterday the Associated Press had a brief story on the new check offs in this year’s tax form. Significantly, it highlighted that the mental illness tax check off will be added in the 2015 income tax forms that will be appearing this January. The mental illness check off in New York is landmark legislation as the first in the nation check off dedicated specifically to public awareness about mental illness. It also sends out a message to New York’s millions of tax payers that mental illness is as significant a cause as all the other issues listed in the tax forms.

If individuals effected directly or indirectly by mental illness gave a few dollar, there would be millions of dollars added to the State budget to create a statewide campaign to decrease the stigma and discrimination of the illness.

Also significantly, legislation was signed by the Governor last week that will insure that money accrued by the State for tax check offs must be spent in that fiscal year for those specified causes.

NY adds tax check-offs on mental illness, women’s cancers

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York taxpayers will have the option of contributing to 13 causes next year that now include educational efforts to prevent women’s cancers and against the stigma of mental illness.

Another new state law now requires spending contributions in the fiscal year they’re collected, no longer leaving millions of donated dollars languishing.

While the measures were signed only last week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the tax department says the 2015 income tax forms appearing in January will include the two new causes.

Contributions already support wildlife, Olympic training centers, breast cancer research, homeless veterans, missing children, Alzheimer’s disease, prostate cancer, World Trade Center memorials, volunteer firefighter recruitment, teen health education and veterans’ cemeteries.

Advocates say one-fourth of Americans have a diagnosed mental illness but stigma keeps many more from treatment.