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Local family on public assistance defends school supply money

By By PAT BAILEY

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - On Tuesday, those living on public assistance received an extra $200 per child for school supplies.

The extra money drew criticism from the public and some elected officials. However, those who received that money say it meant their kids can have what they need for the new school year.

Mohawk Valley Community Action Executive Director Amy Turner works with low income families everyday, and says that, of late, there are more and more families she has to work with.

Turner called the one-time $200 bonus a "wonderful thing." She says those questioning it don't understand.

"All of sudden, we are worried about it," Turner said. "Why? Because it is poor people? Do we think poor people can't make good choices?"

Tiffany Young, a Utica resident and mother of three, says she believes she made a good choice.

Young receives full public assistance and received $600 extra on Tuesday for her kids school supplies.

"[They got] new backpacks , clothes. They got to pick their own stuff," Young said. "I gave them each a certain amount of money and said 'Okay. You can get this many things.' So, they were really happy about it."

Young says she knows some people on public assistance may take advantage of the system. However, she says with three kids, she can't afford to be one of those people.

"We would have dealt with what we got," Young said. "But because we got this extra money, they were able to get things, not only that they need, but things they wanted, as well."

State Senator Joseph Griffo says he gives the "School Supplies for Welfare" Program an "F".

"If you work, you get socked with higher taxes," Griffo said of the program. "If you don't work, you get money to buy what everyone else has to earn. This is what is fundamentally wrong with the way New York's government has been run for far too long. Not every problem can be fixed with more government funding."

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