State surplus refund checks will contain information on how to donate the money to state programs, according to the governor's adminsistrative assistant for education.
Colleen Colton said that a number of phone calls and letters to the governor's office prompted the idea for the message on the back of the checks, which will be mailed out in Setember. "Many people wrote to tell the governor keep the money and put it into education or other programs," she said. Because of her job, she saw only letters written in behalf of education.
The message, approved Wednesday by Legislative leadership during closed party caucuses, reads: "Many citizens have indicated a desire to contribute their refund checks to education or other worthy causes. If you would like information on how to contribute, please call:"... It then listed phone numbers for higher and public education.
Social service and health advocates complained that the only numbers listed were for education. "You can't tell me that, if someone calls the pulblic education number, the person who answers will encourage the caller to give money to the medically needy, for instance," one advocate said.
The governor has agreed to include phone numbers for health and social services on the checks, as well.
"We wanted peole who wanted the money to go into programs to have a chace to contribute to the program of their choice. But I don't think the governor felt confertable deciding where the money should be used," said Colton.