In the summer of 2012, legislation passed in the New York senate sought to curb spending by welfare recipients on such frivolous items as casino gambling, strip clubs, and lottery tickets, as well as limiting the money’s use for cigarettes and alcohol.
The Associated Press reported:
New York would prohibit welfare recipients from spending their tax-funded benefits on cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, and strip clubs under a bill passed overwhelmingly by the state Senate on Tuesday.
Ten other states have already ruled social services can’t be spent on items from beer to guns.
“I understand that people need food stamps,” said Republican Sen. Thomas Libous, a Broome County Republican. “What I don’t understand is why they need to go to strip clubs, buy lottery tickets, go to a ‘racino’ or buy alcohol.”
Sadly, to this day, that commonsense bill has not moved any closer to passage. The bill, which Libous claims would stop over $2 billion in welfare abuse in New York state, is doing nothing more than collecting dust in the Democrat controlled Assembly.
Via a new report from the New York Post:
State lawmakers are urging people to sign petitions in favor of a long-stalled bill that would ban public assistance from being spent on booze, lap dances and cigarettes.
The Public Assistance Integrity Act would also ban welfare recipients from using their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards at liquor stores, casinos and adult-entertainment venues.
“We’re talking about . . . putting food on the table and not frittering away [benefits] on things like alcohol and cigarettes,” said Assemblyman Stephen Hawley, a Republican in western New York state who has collected about 50 signatures.
State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Nassau County) got more than 600 people to sign on in just a few days last month, and Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer (R-Amherst) has collected more than 3,300 names. Meanwhile, Sen. Michael Nozzolio (R-Seneca Falls) snagged about 4,000 signatures.
The bill passed the Senate twice and is stalled in the Assembly, where Democratic leaders are dithering.
Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin writes:
Both houses had bills in committee that would have stopped this abuse of your money. I am a co-sponsor of the Assembly Bill. The Senate passed it, the Assembly did not. The majority blocked the bill from getting through committee. Now why would that be? You’d think the Assembly Democrats would want to stop this abuse as much as we do right? Silver, as usual, has blocked the bill rather than do the right thing because passing it would upset a core voting block for the Assembly Democrats in the city. My suspicion is they will wait until the last possible moment and then pass the bill that should have been passed last March. Until then, they are content to let your money be wasted.
Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) voted against the measure saying, “It’s a prejudice, I think, about poor people that we are seeing represented more than any statistical or study of behavior”.
Perhaps it would aid the poor in limiting their use of public assistance on things such as lottery tickets and strip clubs that will only serve to continue their financial distress?
Perkins added, “the bill would penalize a poor mother who simply withdrew money to buy milk if she used an ATM in a banned establishment to do so.”
If you can’t find an ATM other than the one at a corner bar called Shenanigan’s to get your milk, then you’re not really fit to receive monetary benefits of any kind.
Will New York ever have the political courage to tell people that taxpayer money is to be used for bettering one’s life, not for liquor and strip clubs?