Albany, N.Y. – 02/04/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) joined Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous and other New York State Senate colleagues at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to urge the Assembly passage of the Public Assistance Integrity Act (PAIA), a concept supported by Governor Cuomo in his Executive Budget Proposal.
“New Yorkers are always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need. But we don’t like seeing taxpayer money being wasted. That’s why I co-sponsored the Public Assistance Integrity Act, which will prohibit welfare recipients from using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to be spent on items like cigarettes, alcohol, and lottery tickets, and would also prevent the use of EBT cards to make ATM withdrawals from places like liquor stores, casinos and night clubs,” said Senator Greg Ball. “This common-sense bill would ensure that families in need get the temporary support they require, while also protecting hard-working taxpayers from abuse.”
Under New York State Law, Public Assistance can legally spent at liquor stores, casino, strip clubs, or for beer and cigarettes. The PAIA legislation would go further than Governor Cuomo’s proposal prevent these purchases and comply with federal mandates.
On Tuesday, the Senate moved to pass the bill, which has died in the Assembly for two consecutive years after passing overwhelmingly in the Senate each time. If New York does not comply with the federal mandate, the State could lose up to $122 Million in federal temporary assistance aid.
Senator Ball has created a petition on his Senate website that now has over 1,000 signatures. Sign the petition by visiting: http://www.nysenate.gov/webform/public-assistance-integrity-act-petition.
In addition to the PAIA Senator Greg Ball is also calling for the passage of a bill he has coined, “Urine or You’re Out” (S3905-A). The legislation would change the New York’s social services law to require applicants of public assistance to be screened for alcohol and/or substance abuse. If the person tests positive, they would be immediately denied public assistance and referred to a treatment program. Testing would be repeated every six months.
“This type of law is not intended to embarrass or humiliate people in need. I understand that times are tough. However, we need to be sure that this money is being used for its intended purpose,” said Senator Greg Ball. “Taxes are killing this state. This is one way to not only tighten the belt and save millions of dollars, but get addicts the help they need.”
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