WHO DROPPED THE BALL ON STATE’S PROSTATE CANCER FUND?
New York State Senate Health Committee Chairman Kemp Hannon on Wednesday, October 16, called on the Governor, Comptroller, Health Commissioner and State Budget Director to explain what went wrong with the State’s Prostate Cancer Fund amid revelations that nearly $2 million in taxpayer monies collected through a state income tax check off were never distributed as intended.
A recent report in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle entitled “Watchdog report: NY Tax checkoff fund to nowhere” highlighted the fact that not a single dollar of approximately $1.8 million in taxpayer funds for prostate research were utilized.
“I was very surprised and disappointed to learn that none of the money that came in for this important and worthwhile cause has been distributed. With some of the most important research institutions in the country right here in New York, it’s unconscionable that the State is sitting on these funds. I want to know who dropped the ball and how we can ensure that it never happens again,” Senator Hannon said.
Hannon called on state officials to explain how money donated by taxpayers for important causes can sit idle in state accounts. In the meantime, he said he would introduce legislation to ensure these funds are used for their intended purpose in a timely manner, and that a reporting and auditing system is in place for each.
“While the prostate cancer fund is obviously the most glaring and unacceptable case of all, it’s critical that we seek a swift legislative remedy to ensure that these undisturbed funds can be promptly used for their intended purposes and that we have a full and fair accounting of each. With lives at stake and our resources limited, it’s really a no-brainer,” Hannon said.
In order to better understand the situation with each of these tax check off accounts, Senator Hannon has requested detailed information on what efforts were undertaken to solicit for grant applications, all requests for funding that were received, how those requests were handled and by what entity, what projects were funded, what reports were issued, what audits were completed and any other relevant details for each fund that are available.
“We’re going to get to the bottom of this so New York can lead the way in stamping out prostate cancer and saving lives. I am confident that I’ll have the support of every legislator in this effort,” Hannon concluded.