News From Kevin Lembo

COMPTROLLER LEMBO SAYS SENATE REPUBLICANS PUT STATE CHARITABLE CAMPAIGN AT RISK; CALLS FOR ACTION DURING SPECIAL SESSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017

Contact: Tara Downes
860-702-3308
Tara.Downes@ct.gov 

Comptroller Kevin Lembo said that Senate Republicans knowingly blocked legislation necessary to continue operating the Connecticut State Employees Campaign for Charitable Giving (CSEC) - a program that delivers millions of dollars to charities helping people across the state.

"This is politics at its worst - killing a charitable campaign that delivers millions of dollars to protect victims of domestic violence, children with special needs and many others at no cost to taxpayers," Lembo said. "I urge the legislature, during its special session, to revive this essential charitable program for the sake of hundreds of charities, the people they help, and the economic impact associated with the work that these charities do."

The CSEC has allowed state employees, through payroll deduction and other ways, to donate millions of their own dollars to hundreds of charities over the years. Top beneficiaries have included Foodshare, the Connecticut Food Bank, United Way of Central and Northeast Connecticut, American Cancer Society (New England Division), Hole in the Wall Gang and Windham Area Interfaith Ministry. Other beneficiaries include St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Planned Parenthood Southern New England and the Connecticut Chapter of Alzheimer's Association.

State law governing the CSEC required legislative clarification or no organizations capable and willing to administer the program would qualify to do so. The legislation also sought to improve accountability and reduce administrative fees - capping fees at 15 percent.

After the bill received unanimous support in the House, Republicans in the Senate blocked the bill - even after being notified that their actions would kill the entire program.

"These Senate Republicans knew that this bill was essential to the survival of this charitable program - but they proceeded anyway," Lembo said.

Charities in Senate Republican districts that will be denied access to these funds include the Women & Families Center and Chrysalis, both of Meriden; Bread for Life and YMCA, both of Southington; United Way of Western Connecticut in Danbury; and Favarh - "The Arc of the Farmington Valley" - of Canton.

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