Ranzenhofer launches campaign to protect taxpayer dollars


    Encourages State Assembly to pass Public Assistance Integrity Act


    Batavia, NY – State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has started a new campaign to protect taxpayer dollars by launching a petition drive to encourage the State Assembly to pass a bill that would prohibit Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards from being used by welfare recipients to purchase alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets and other non-essential items.


    “While New Yorkers have always been willing to lend a helping hand to those in need, we don’t like seeing taxpayer money being wasted,” said Ranzenhofer.  “There is no law to prevent public assistance from being used to purchase beer, cigarettes or lottery tickets.  It’s time to close this loop hole in State law.”


    The Public Assistance Integrity Act (S.966) would prohibit using EBT cards for tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, lottery tickets, and ATM cash withdrawals at liquor stores and casinos.  Senator Ranzenhofer is a co-sponsor of the legislation.  The bill passed the State Senate on June 18th.  The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.


    “I was proud to vote for this measure in the Senate, but our job is not yet done.  That’s why I am launching a new petition drive to encourage the State Assembly to take action on this bill,” said Ranzenhofer.  “I encourage residents to join my campaign to protect your dollars by signing my petition.”


    Click here to sign the petition online.


    EBT cards work like a debit card for welfare recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component.  Strict regulations guide what can be purchased for Food Stamps.  Cash assistance is intended to pay for items not covered by Food Stamps, such as soap, toothpaste, school supplies and toiletries.  Currently, there are no restrictions on the use of Cash Assistance.


    Federal aid received by New York may be at risk if the State Assembly does not pass the bill.  The federal government has mandated states implement a fraud prevention system by February 2014.  If New York State does not act accordingly, the Federal government will penalize the State by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent or $120 million.