Monday, March 28, 2011

GOP Wants Welfare Applicants To Get $20 A Month

Minnesota GOP wants it to be illegal to carry cash if you're poor

Kurt Daudt wants to crack down on cash for poor people

For a political party that keeps harping on Democrats for trying to control people's lives, Republicans in Minnesota sure are doing some weird things. First, they want government to control decisions made between pregnant women and their physicians. Now they want to make sure that poor people never have more than $20 in their pockets. Poor people can't be trusted with cash, it seems.

A bill introduced by Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) would prohibit people who use EBT cards--government assistance on plastic--from withdrawing cash at ATMs with the cards, except for $20 per month.

We haven't been able to reach Daudt yet, but Angel Buechner of the Welfare Rights Committee is not amused.

"The Welfare Rights Committee would like to state that this Bill, House File 171, is not based in any common sense or fiscal responsibility," Buechner said at this week's hearing on the bill. "It is appears to be based on knee-jerk, ignorant bias and a desire to stigmatize the poor."

The bill (see the text here) would require cashiers to ask for photo ID and prohibit EBT-card holders from purchasing alcohol or cigs.

Steve Gottwalt (R-St. Cloud) thinks $20 is enough for the month
As things stand now, people using EBT cards are allowed to withdraw cash, which works out well for them because a lot of stores don't have EBT hook-ups. If the bill passes, all those stores would have to get EBT connections, or poor people using the cards would have a limit on where they could shop.

We reached Jodi Boyne, director of public affairs for House Republican Caucus, and she confirmed that the intent of the bill is to crack down on public money used for bad stuff--those alcohol and cigs again--and actually, in some cases, at a casino, according to this KSTP news report.

"There is documented evidence that these cards have been used for fraudulent purposes, and it's looking at addressing that," Boyne says.

The KSTP report was the reason Daudt launched his bill--watch this video to see the report--and he is not the only Republican supporting it. A whole host of his fellow GOP-ers have signed on, as you can see here.

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