Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – State Senator John DeFrancisco is calling for a crackdown on what people can purchase with their electronic benefits cards (EBT).
EBT cards can be used in the same way as debit cards and money can be drawn from ATMs.
The state began issuing the cards in an effort to cut down on paperwork.
DeFrancisco says he wants the cards to be blocked at certain locations, such as strip clubs, liquor stores, or casinos. In order to stop people on public assistance from using their EBT cards for items other than food or other necessities, the State Senator wants to pass a Public Assistance Integrity Act.
“When they are used illegally, or improperly like this time - it's less money for those truly in need. Taxpayers should be outraged about these cards being used for that purpose,” DeFrancisco said.
The measure passed in the State Senate last year, but was never brought to the Assembly for a vote.
DeFrancisco says he will bring it up again this session.
The Federal government is threatening to withhold $125 million in funding to states that don’t stop abuse of the public assistance system.