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Daily Newscasts

"Better Jobs for Moms" Veto Sparks Storm

August 6, 2007

Gov. Spitzer is facing the wrath of welfare reformers and state legislators. The dispute was sparked by his last-minute veto of a bill that would have provided job training and referrals for moms receiving public assistance, targeted toward better-paying jobs that are traditionally male dominated. Spitzer says the bill was "laudable" but "unrealistic." But Linda Lisi-Juergens with the National Association of Mothers' Centers disagrees.

"For those who are capable and interested, what is the harm in allowing them the opportunity to know about a better-paying job?"

The governor sided with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and the State Association of Counties in vetoing the bill, which recommended that mothers on public assistance receive training for jobs paying at least 85 percent over the poverty level. Spitzer said that job entry, even at a lower wage, provides better employment opportunities for mothers on relief, while welfare reform advocates say unskilled minimum-wage jobs are often dead-ends for professional advancement.

Lisi-Juergens believes there's even more at stake than wage equity for women because better pay means better academic and social development for the children of working mothers.

"Children need a very strong empathic relationship with their primary caregiver. How are people going to do that if they have to work two or three minimum-wage jobs to subsist, let alone thrive?"

Albany legislators in both houses are considering an override attempt or reintroduction of the bipartisan bill, which was unanimously passed earlier this year.

Robert Knight/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY