Newly-elected Assemb. Ed Hennessey is sponsoring legislation that would prohibit the withdrawing of public assistance benefits funds from ATMs located in casinos, liquor stores or adult entertainment facilities, according to press release from his office.
“This common-sense legislation would protect hardworking taxpayers from abuse while ensuring that individuals receiving public assistance continue to get the temporary help they need until they can get back on their feet,” Hennessey, D-Medford, said.
Currently, Hennessey said, some specially designated ATMs from which public assistance funds can be dispensed through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Cards are located in casinos, liquor stores and even strip clubs.
No state law currently protects public assistance cash benefits from either being misused to purchase liquor or lottery tickets or withdrawn from ATMs at inappropriate locations.
Hennessey said that if the state doesn't stop this welfare abuse it could lose $120 million in federal funding because of the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which requires states to prohibit certain welfare spending by 2014.
“The fact is, if we don’t conform to this law, New York will lose out on vital federal funding and New York taxpayers will be forced to make up the difference," he said.