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Hawley doesn’t want welfare used for cigarettes, liquor

Posted 19 June 2013 at 12:00 am

Press release, State Assemblyman Steve Hawley

ALBANY – Assemblyman Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, is calling on the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act, which would prevent tax dollars from being spent on cigarettes and liquor while protecting a crucial safety net for families in need.

The measure, which Hawley has signed onto as a co-sponsor, would not only crack down on the illicit use of public assistance, but would ensure that New York State is not disqualified from $120 million in federal funding meant to support children and families struggling to put a roof over their heads. The legislation recently passed in the State Senate.

“The abuse of public assistance not only robs taxpayers of their hard earned money, but it jeopardizes the children and families who truly need a hand up in their time of need,” Hawley said. “Spending welfare dollars in strip clubs and liquor stores reduces the resources available to help provide shelter and warmth for a poor child, and the situation is made that much more dire by the loss of federal funding if we do not close this loophole. It is imperative that the Assembly pass this legislation before the close of session, because there is simply too much at stake for our hardworking taxpayers and vulnerable families to let this bill fall through the cracks.”

The Public Assistance Integrity Act would limit where EBT cards can be used and what they can be used for. The federal government has mandated that each state establish a system of fraud prevention by February 2014. If the state does not act, the federal government will penalize New York by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by five percent – $120 million.