Easter Seals hit with huge tax bill - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Easter Seals hit with huge tax bill

February 25, 2004

Albany -- Easter Seals of Southern Georgia's unemployment tax bill from the state increased 99 hundred percent over last year's. Their unemployment tax bill was 300 dollars. This year's bill ballooned to thirty-thousand dollars. Now the non-profit organization worries how they can pay.

Clients study math graphs at Easter Seals traumatic brain injury program. Roger Cole has been receiving treatment at Easter Seals for over 14 years, after he was injured when a car tire he was changing exploded. Cole said "I'm learning to walk again on the walker. My reading and writing is getting better. My spelling is getting better. And I'm getting around people."

 Easter Seals of Southern Georgia officials are worried they may have to cut back programs like Rogers' after receiving their unemployment tax bill for 30 thousand dollars. They checked, it is not a mistake.

Already facing a 48 thousand dollar deficit in their current budget, Easter Seals officials may have to cut programs to save money. Executive Director Beth English said, " We don't like to make those kinds of decisions. Because most of the programs that we offer here are Easter Seals are programs you can't find anywhere else."

Roger Cole hopes his day program is not cut back. But the state's unemployment trust fund is nearly depleted, and must be built back. That means higher taxes on employers, even non-profits like Easter Seals. English said, "During economic hard times like these are right now, this is another terrible blow for any of us."

Easter Seals of Southern Georgia has 80 employees, who serve clients in 29 counties. Their yearly payroll is almost two million dollars.

posted at 3:51 PM by jimw@walb.com