New York, NY, September 23, 2011 – The American Council of the Blind of New York strongly urged Governor Cuomo to veto A4161 today. Commonly known as the Newsline bill sponsored by the National Federation of the Blind of New York and championed by former Governor Paterson who is a member of NFB of NY, this bill gives the unusual authority to the Director of the NFB of New York to tax every single New Yorker to fund one service and one organization.
“New York state’s Blind and visually impaired people appreciate the Newsline service,” said Pratik Patel, the President of ACBNY. “We, however, cannot stand by when seeing a perverted funding mechanism that only benefits one organization or one service,” continued Mr. Patel.
A4161 vests the authority in the Director of the NFB of NY in order to establish a monthly tax on telephone lines to fund Newsline. At the very least, $400000 is estimated to go to the NFB of NY without transparency. Millions of additional funds could go to the organization.
“We should not allow a funding mechanism that supports only one service at a cost significantly higher than the actual cost of running it,” said Mr. Patel. “We know for certain that Newsline only costs a little more than $100,000 to run on an annual basis. We have to wonder why the NFB of NY is seeking so much extra funding as a nonprofit by taxing New Yorkers.”
Documentation suggests that New York’s blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind residents have significant needs when it comes to making their lives independent and economically profitable for the state. Services like vocational and rehabilitative services through the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) could be significantly improved.
“Why not spend this money when it will help New Yorkers to contribute back to the state,” asks Mr. Patel. “Many more worthy services could be funded if this funding mechanism were to be used to give money to CBVH, for example. We urge the Governor to truly look at how services are structured rather than responding to this politically driven process.”
American Council of the Blind of New York, Inc., is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating on behalf of all blind, visually impaired, and deaf-blind residents of New York state. As an affiliate of the American Council of the blind, which is the largest consumer-based organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for their rights. Comprised of members from across New York, ACB of New York is dedicated to making it possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit http://www.acbny.org .