Three thousand join Ranzenhofer’s campaign to protect tax dollars
Encouraging State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act
State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that his new petition drive, encouraging the State Assembly to pass the Public Assistance Integrity Act, has garnered more than 3,300 signatures since launching the campaign one week ago.
“Thousands of Western New York residents have added their voice to mine in calling on the State Assembly to pass a bill that protects our tax dollars,” said Ranzenhofer. “We are sending a powerful message to the State Assembly: a fraud prevention measure is needed to prohibit welfare benefits from being spent on alcohol, cigarettes and other non-essential items.”
Senator Ranzenhofer launched the online petition on October 25.
“I hope that residents will consider adding their voice to the thousands who have already expressed their support for passing the Public Assistance Integrity Act. It is not too late to sign my online petition, and I encourage residents to join our campaign to protect taxpayer dollars,” said Ranzenhofer.
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 18. The State Assembly has not taken action on the bill.
EBT cards work like a debit card for public assistance recipients, containing both a Food Stamp and Cash Assistance component. Strict regulations already 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 that 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.