A bill that would ban spending welfare money on “sins” like cigarettes, booze, strippers and gambling sailed through the New York State Senate yesterday, which is no surprise. The fact that some legislators actually voted against the bill, however, is absolutely shocking.
One of the few lawmakers to not sign off on the bill is Senator Bill Perkins, a Harlem Democrat, who says not allowing people to spend taxpayer money given to them by society on bad habits like booze and cigarettes is somehow “prejudice.”
Perkins didn’t immediately get back to us this morning. However, he tells the Associated Press the following about why he voted against the bill:
“It’s a prejudice, I think, about poor people that we are seeing represented more than any statistical or study of behavior.”
Whatever that means…
The bill — the Public Assistance Integrity Act — was introduced by Republican state Senator Thomas Libous.
“Public assistance is designed to help needy families provide for their children until they can transition back to the workforce and
become self-sufficient,” Libous, the deputy majority leader, said last week.
He went on to say that “this common-sense legislation would protect hardworking taxpayers from abuse while ensuring that individuals
receiving welfare benefits continue to get the temporary assistance they need and deserve.”
If Libous’ bill doesn’t become law, New York stands to lose about $120 million in federal welfare funding — turns out the feds find
public money going towards things like cigarettes and strippers is as ludicrous as Libous does.
Thanks to the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, states that don’t prohibit welfare money from going towards “sin
activities” by 2014 will lose five percent of their federal welfare funding.
If the bill becomes law, anyone busted using welfare money for “sin activities” will lose their benefits for a month. A second offense will
cost welfare recipients three months of benefits. Strike three will permanently ban a recipient from the program.
Hopefully Perkins gets back to us so he can explain how he can possibly oppose a ban on spending welfare money cigarettes, booze and strippers — check back for updates.