Assemblyman Bill Reilich (R,C,I-Greece) has called last week’s $175 million giveaway by Governor Paterson an “ill-conceived plan resulting in millions of wasted taxpayer dollars.” The governor’s program, which distributes $200 per child, one-time grants to low-income families for them to purchase back-to-school supplies, contains little to no guidelines.
“Because of the unclear guidelines in place within the program, there have been innumerable reports of parents squandering this money on luxury items for themselves rather than purchasing back-to-school supplies for their children,” stated Reilich. “Given the state of our economy, it is extremely irresponsible of the governor to disburse millions of taxpayer dollars with no guidelines set up to determine that the monies are used for their intended purpose.”
The money was intended to be used for school supplies for 800,000 children statewide whose families may not be able to afford them. The “Back-to-School Assistance” money is available to families on food stamps with children ages 3-17 and can be accessed through an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card.
“It is important that every child have the resources available to receive a quality education; however, the implementation of this program was not well thought out,” said Reilich. “This action by the governor was unilateral, without any input from the people or their representatives. Had an accountability measure been put in place, we could have implemented this program more effectively to ensure the monies were spent wisely. This one-man decision, made behind closed doors, is yet another example of the dysfunctional environment in Albany, where big government and big spending is running rampant at the taxpayers’ expense.”