Thursday, April 11, 2013

House Minority Leader Brad Jones: Recently Proposed EBT Reforms Lack Teeth

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement in response to recent reforms to the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program offered by Speaker Robert DeLeo, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz, and Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Stacey Monahan:

“I commend the Patrick Administration and Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives for finally heeding the House Republican Caucus’ call for desperately needed reforms of the eligibility process for the Commonwealth’s public assistance programs, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, and the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). Unfortunately, the proposals by Beacon Hill Democrats only scratch the surface - lacking teeth and duplicating responsibilities by further increasing state bureaucracy.

In contrast, the House Republican Caucus intends to offer amendments to the Fiscal Year 2014 budget that achieve significant reforms in three key areas: (1) verifying eligibility at the point of application by matching with specific federal and state databases; (2) increasing oversight over the 90-95% of EBT benefits taken out by recipients in cash via an online payment system; and (3) strengthening and increasing the enforcement of existing laws and regulations governing DTA, benefit recipients, and retailers.

By joining the Republican Caucus in our commitment to eradicate waste, fraud, and abuse within state programs, the Legislature and the Patrick Administration can begin to ensure that taxpayer funded welfare benefits are only granted to those who truly need them.”