As Feb 22nd federal deadline looms, Assemblyman Tedisco blasts inaction by Assembly Majority to pass Public Assistance Integrity Act to prevent EBT cards to be used for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets and cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville) today called on the Assembly Majority to apologize to the taxpayers of New York for failing to follow federal guidelines and losing $120 million in federal temporary assistance aid.
Currently, taxpayer-funded Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, which are intended to help low-income families pay for food and other necessities, can be squandered on purchasing lottery tickets, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and withdrawing cash at ATMs in casinos and strip clubs.
A 2012 federal law set a deadline of tonight at 12 a.m. midnight, February 22, 2014, for states to stop this kind of EBT abuse or risk losing about $120 million in federal funding.
The State Senate, by a wide bipartisan margin, has passed legislation to stop the taxpayer abuse, the Public Assistance Integrity Act (A.2386/S.0966), but it has stalled in the Assembly.
“The failure of the Assembly Majority to save the $120 million in federal support and protect the integrity of our public assistance program is a slap in the face to taxpayers and the honest, law-abiding citizens who are down on their luck and need the EBT cards to put food on their families’ plates,” said Tedisco.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for EBT cards to be used on lap dances, lottery tickets, and liquor and they shouldn’t be on the hook to make up for lost federal funding because some deadbeats in the Assembly Majority refuse to stand up to welfare fraud, waste and abuse,” said Tedisco.