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05-10-09, 06:39 PM #1
Pennsylvania bill would ban use of welfare benefits to buy alcohol
Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering a bill that would bar welfare recipients from using taxpayer-backed benefit cards to buy alcohol. The measure, which also bans use of child support payments for alcohol purchases, unanimously passed the state House last week. It now heads to the state Senate, where a spokesman for Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, says he believes it has general support.
State Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, said he submitted the measure after learning on a tour of a county assistance office a few years ago that such purchases were not illegal.
"I had no idea at the time that such a loophole existed," he said. "I don't think most people did."
Administration officials, however, question whether the bill is aimed at a problem that doesn't exist, saying there is no evidence that recipients abuse their benefits. Others say it perpetuates a stereotype that people who receive government assistance are irresponsible.
The state Department of Public Welfare and Liquor Control Board do not compile statistics on such purchases by the approximately 2 million residents who get cash assistance, food stamps or medical assistance.
"We are not by any means advocating that people use these funds to go to a liquor store," department spokeswoman Stacey Witalec said. "However, when should government play a role, and where is it intruding on grounds where personal responsibility should be playing a stronger role?"
The bill would bar the 619 state liquor stores and private beer distributors from accepting the department's electronic benefit cards. State store clerks are already supposed to turn away such cards under an agreement between the department and liquor board, but the bill would put the force of law behind the agreement.
The bill, however, could be circumvented if welfare recipients use their cards to withdraw cash at an ATM and use it to buy alcohol. And cards for child support benefits resemble credit cards, making it difficult for clerks to enforce such a law.
"It perpetuates the stereotype that women on welfare are irresponsible and immoral and can't make appropriate decisions," said Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project in Philadelphia.
But Reed says any welfare money used to buy alcohol means that less is available for those in need.
"Taxpayers are generally pretty generous when folks are in need but get irritated quickly when they see these loopholes," Reed said. "It makes them more cynical in wanting to continue helping more folks. ... This bill is trying to correct that."
05-10-09, 09:23 PM #2"If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.
05-10-09, 10:20 PM #3
I don't know about in Pennsylvania but here those are just a bunch of feelgood words. Our recepients just go to the ATM and withdraw their cash money like anyone else. Our state welfare system is a joke. A recepient just goes and buys groceries and trades them for alcohol. There is no way to police the welfare system without a desire to police the welfare system.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
05-11-09, 07:29 AM #4
I'll drink to that (what ever it is).
05-11-09, 12:03 PM #5
Sounds like a good plan to me. Cash assistance and food stamps are two separate things here...are they the same in Pennsylvania?--"D.B.A.D." --Me
--Life's tough...it's tougher if you're stupid.
--"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped." -Elbert Hubbard
05-12-09, 11:59 PM #6in the warriors code there's no surrender, though his body says stop, his spirit cries...NEVER. deep in our souls, a quiet ember, knows its you against you, its the paradox that drives us all. its a battle of wills, in the heat of attack, its the passion that kills, and victory is yours alone.
the posts and opinions stated by me do not in any way reflect the values, beliefs, or views of my department. they are simply opinions and/or observations which have been developed through my personal experiences. hell, most of the stories probably arent even true...wink wink
05-13-09, 12:37 AM #7
This bill is racist. It is a tool by the white man to oppress the minorities. They OWE the people their Escalade and Denalli for all the evil things done to them by the Bush and Reagan'Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a
delusional, illogical liberal minority, and rabidly
promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which
holds forth the proposition that it is entirely
possible to pick up a turd by the clean end!'
“A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.” Sigmund Freud
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