Should individuals be able to spend their welfare benefits on liquor, tobacco, gambling or strippers? Currently, they can.
House Bill 907 would codify Department of Welfare electronic benefit card restrictions to prevent taxpayer funds from being used for these purchases.
Prime sponsor, Rep. Mike Reese, should be commended for working to protect limited taxpayer resources for the poor. Rep. Baker, who amended the legislation to prevent use of EBT cards in liquor stores, casinos and strip clubs, along with the lawmakers who voted to advance HB 907 also deserve praise.
The bill seems like commonsense, but some critics call it a “nanny-state mentality.”
But what is more nanny state than encouraging more Pennsylvanians to depend on government programs for food, shelter and the basics? From Medicaid expansion to the LIHEAP “eat and heat” loophole, too often our policies attempt to expand nanny state dependency for political gain instead of working to coordinate benefits in a way that encourages independence and rewards employment.
Is perfect enforcement possible? Probably not, but that’s no reason to insist that tax dollars should be spent on tobacco, strippers and gambling.