Walter Urges Silver and Majority to Act on Anti-fraud Bill

Assemblyman Ray Walter (R,C,I-Amherst) recently expressed displeasure over the Assembly Majority’s priorities for the end of session, specifically with regards to the “Public Assistance Integrity Act.” The New York State Senate recently the passed Public Assistance Integrity Act, which will cut down on the flagrant abuse of EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards by prohibiting welfare recipients from using cash assistance to gamble or purchase tobacco, alcoholic beverages and lottery tickets. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has refused to bring this bill to the floor for a vote, thereby preventing it from becoming law.

 “It is becoming more evident that while the Senate continues its diligent work and votes on issues that matter to New Yorkers, Speaker Silver refuses to act on anything but his own agenda,” said Walter. “Welfare, and all other public assistance programs, are designed to help families in need provide the basic necessities of life for their children and themselves. Using taxpayer dollars to go to a strip club, buy alcohol, or gamble is the very definition of waste, fraud and abuse. Preventing these sorts of uses of EBT cards should be an obvious vote.”

 The federal government has mandated that each state establish a system of fraud prevention in place by February 2014. If Speaker Silver refuses to act, the federal government will penalize New York by cutting federal funding for Cash Assistance by 5 percent ($120 million).  New York spends over $2.7 billion each year administering Cash Assistance.

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