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Bevin Vetoes Advocacy Program For Disabled People

J. Tyler Franklin

Among Gov. Matt Bevin’s line-item vetoes in the state budget earlier this week was $400,000 that would have gone to the Arc of Kentucky, an advocacy organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The money was set aside to help fund the nonprofit’s leadership program, which trains people with disabilities and supporters in civic engagement.

Patty Dempsey, Arc of Kentucky’s executive director, said the $200,000 per year was in the budget to return the program to its original funding level.

“Without the funding, we are faced with that possibility of losing it,” Dempsey said.

Bevin vetoed all or part of 14 bills this legislative session, including several line-item vetoes to the $21 billion two-year state budget.

Arc of Kentucky’s Advocates in Action program trains up to 24 participants each year and pays for travel expenses to two events in Frankfort.

Participants have the opportunity to meet with state officials and advocate for legislative causes.

In his veto message, Bevin commended the nonprofit’s work, but he said they should look elsewhere for funding.

“While their work should be applauded, nonprofits are strongest when they are not dependent upon tax dollars for operations,” Bevin wrote. “We encourage Arc of Kentucky to continue to move forward with their passionate advocacy and focus their fundraising efforts on private sector and foundation support.”

Dempsey said the organization already gets money from the private sector and foundations.

“The reason the dollars were requested in the budget was to ensure stability of the program, because it is something we firmly believe in as a statewide advocacy organization,” she said.

According to the nonprofit’s IRS 990 report from 2013, the organization received $184,890 in government grants while bringing in $2,823 in membership dues and $5,008 in other contributions.

That year, Arc of Kentucky also raised $56,971 in additional revenue, including via fundraisers.

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