TRENTON – Acting Gov. Kim Guadagno signed into law today a bill that would enable residents to make donations to the Special Olympics through their state tax return forms by simply checking off a box.
The bill, S1855, enjoys bipartisan support, and will help generate funds for the 2014 Special Olympics Home Team Fund to provide training and support other participation programs for the 2014 Special Olympics which will take place in Mercer County, from June 14 to June 21.
The event will feature 3,500 athletes participating in 14 Olympic-style events. The event is expected to have some 8,000 volunteers and is expected to generate some $50 million in economic activity through such things as lodging, restaurants, and other things, according to the state.
While Guadagno pointed out the event’s potential as an economic boon, she said the real rewards come in the form of providing an opportunity to people with special needs to compete and feel accepted.
“It is about the opportunity to do something special,” she said. “It’s an extraordinary event.”
The check-off box mechanism created by S1855 is similar to a system in six other states that enable their residents to make donations through their tax returns to various causes.
Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) of West Deptford, who has a daughter with special needs, said events like the Special Olympics help in the mission to get children more exposure.
“These children used to be hidden,” he said. “They’re not anymore,” he said. “They get to play sports and be part of a team.”
He said his own daughter plays basketball.