"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Monday, March 2, 2009

Good Idea or Not?

What are your thoughts on this program, good idea? What about the people who do not own vehicles and have to pay for cabs or other types of transit? What kind of controls can be placed on a program like this to prevent abuse?


$250,000 Program Will Make Gas Cards Available to Help Unemployed New Yorkers Look for Work and Travel to Job Interviews

Cards Will Range from $25 to $50 in Value and Will be Made Available to 34 Rural Counties

Governor David A. Paterson today announced that 34 rural counties in New York have been approved to participate in an initiative to make gas cards available to unemployed jobseekers. A total of $250,000 is being made available statewide to Workforce Investment Boards that serve rural counties in New York.

The money comes from federal funds allocated to New York State under the Workforce Investment Act. The cards are intended to help the unemployed with transportation expenses as they look for work, go to job interviews, or use employment services available at their local One-Stop Career Center. The face value of a card will vary by area, but is expected to be in the vicinity of $25 to $50 each. Cards will be available from now until either June 30 or when funds run out.

“The latest unemployment numbers in New York are at a historic high, and we have yet to see the bottom of this economic crisis. Every bit of extra help is important to unemployed New Yorkers in these tough times,” said Governor Paterson. “These gas cards are a way to get real money directly to those in need – hard-working people looking for a job – and they can use this money in a tangible way to help themselves gain employment.”

The following counties are participating in the gas card distribution program: Oneida, Cayuga, Fulton, Madison, Montgomery, Ontario, Oswego, Wayne, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Clinton, Cortland, Jefferson, Otsego, St. Lawrence, Tompkins, Ulster, Warren, Columbia, Greene, Herkimer, Schoharie, Seneca, Tioga, Washington, Yates, Allegany, Chenango, Delaware, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Lewis and Sullivan.

“Unemployed workers in our rural counties face unique difficulties in their job hunt,” said State Labor Commissioner M. Patricia Smith. “Often they must drive long distances simply to apply for a job, attend an interview, or work on their resume at our One-Stop Career Center. All that driving costs money. By offering these gas cards, we hope to help with that added expense for our rural customers.”

Specific eligibility and distribution requirements for the gas cards are set by each local Workforce Investment Board. Generally, a worker must be unemployed, actively looking for work, and be registered at and working with the One-Stop Career Center in these rural counties.

One-Stop Career Centers are available throughout the State and are established and overseen by local Workforce Investment Boards. Services are offered free of charge, and include career counseling, job search workshops, job listings and labor market information, and access to computer workstations and other resources.

Those already working with their One-Stop Career Center should ask for more information about the gas card program and whether it is available. For more information about services offered by One-Stop Career Centers, including the gas card program, please visit the NYS Department of Labor’s web site www.labor.ny.gov.


Anonymous said...

Is it $25? Is it $50? can the card be used for things other than gas? Lottery tickets? Cigarettes? Sandwiches? Who will police it to mske sure it's appropriate?

In areas like ours, we often drive long distamces to work, or to look for work. Should taxpayers pay for my commute if I land a job in Massena and live in Carthage?

Dan Francis said...

For a region full of folks who are down on government programs, welfare to cite one, or SSI, or food stamps, or any number of other "social programs, we sure consume a lot of attention at the trough, don't we? I wonder what the disconnect is?


(Good for me, but not for others).

[I just made that up]

Anonymous said...

If they can not afford cars should we encourage to live away from their work. Use the $50.00 as security on an apartment in Watertown on the bus route.

Anonymous said...

I like that "good for me not for others" thing Daniel. Another of your positive contributions to this site.

Dan Francis said...

Anon: 7:03 -- what the truth hurts -- the me was my reference to the collective "we" not me as an individual.

Don't look for zebras in a forest, Anon 7:03 -- they ain't there.

Anonymous said...

I got it. I like it.

Anonymous said...

What they are seeing is $700-$900 a month apartments in Watertown. The army guys, drug dealers, and single moms with housing assistance can handle that. People just getting started in a job can't. So the rent in outlying areas then try to figure out how to get to work. I'm not advocating anything. That just seems to be the problem. Can't afford to live here, can't afford to communt. Lots of slumlords are happy folk.

TourPro said...

If it eliminates an excuse for not seeking work, then yes - a good idea.

On the other hand, does anyone besides me see room for fraud?

Anonymous said...

Do the math: $250,000 for gas card at $25 to $50 each.

That's 5,000-10,000 cards for 650,000 people out of work!

Anonymous said...

Towards what jobs might they be driving. As for St. Lawrence County, it would appear the effort is to drive jobs out.

Anonymous said...

Correction to 9:04 -- there were 94k unemployed in those counties in December, according to DOL, a number sure to grow when the new jobless numbers are reported later this week.

So that's a free gas card for 1 in 9, assuming the $50 value.

Anonymous said...

This assumes they have cars. Most of this will go to people who will use the gas cards to travel to nearby towns to finds chicks to make babies with then travel to Watertown to buy drugs. Maybe I have the order mixed up.

Call it a stimulus.

Of sorts.

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