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No $ Recommendation For NC Sterilization Victims, Yet

A task force appointed by Governor Bev Perdue to recommend compensation for victims of the state's eugenic sterilization program says it needs more time to settle on a dollar amount. The estimated 3,000 living victims of North Carolina's eugenics program clearly "deserve compensation," says the task force in its report to Governor Perdue. "No value or amount can provide complete closure," it continues. But the task force says it needs another six months to pick a specific amount. Figures ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 per victim have been discussed. The task force is also uncertain whether families of deceased victims should qualify for compensation. Whatever the amount paid to victims, the task force says the money should be exempt from state income tax. Some 7,600 men, women and children as young as 10 were sterilized by order of the North Carolina Eugenics board between 1929 and 1974. Many of them were epileptic, mentally ill or had low IQs. In the program's later years, it targeted single women on welfare. A final recommendation is due to the governor on February 1. The task force acknowledges lawmakers may struggle to find money for sterilization victims at a time when other programs are being cut. Lawmakers may be tempted to find a special source of the funding so that tax-funded programs aren't affected. However, the governor's task force says the money should come from the General Fund "so that taxpayers understand the wrongfulness of the state's actions." People who believe they may be victims of the NC Eugenics program can call the Sterilization Victims Foundation hotline at 1-877-550-6013 or visit www.sterilizationvictims.nc.gov.