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A highly touted Clinton administration outlay of money to help the poor in New York deal with rising fuel bills was blasted Friday by Rep. John M. McHugh, R-Watertown.

The allocation, he said, works out to $1.85 for the average eligible household in New York State, $8.65 in New Jersey and $123 for homes in Maine.

"I would hate to think politics was a factor," McHugh said. New Hampshire, where Vice President Gore is locked in a critical presidential primary contest, received $115 per household.

New York's share of the emergency Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is "pitiful, particularly when you consider that New York State has by far, the most eligible recipients."

Meanwhile, Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, praised the allocation in a press release as money "that will allow our elderly and working poor to pay their heating bills without having to sacrifice the essentials they need."

"The receiving states will now be able to make the most efficient use of the funds and maximize LIHEAP's assistance to the families that need it most."

Alerted to McHugh's analysis, Quinn spokeswoman Tracy A. Cone said, "We're still pleased with the emergency aid."

McHugh said he is baffled by the White House state-by-state breakdown.

It showed New York got $2.6 million for 1.4 million low-income households, while Maine got $10.3 million for 83,000 homes. Some of the listings for the other nine states were just as disparate: Rhode Island, $2.6 million, 76,000 households, $34 average; Massachusetts, $10,090,483, 363,000 households, $28 average, and Alaska, $2.5 million, 32,000 households, $78.

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