Lawmaker wants restrictions on welfare purchases - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Lawmaker wants restrictions on welfare purchases

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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Welfare recipients could soon see tougher regulations on where they can spend their money. While many people on welfare use those benefits to buy food and other household items they need, a state lawmaker says some people are spending those tax dollars at strip clubs, for things like psychics or tattoos.

Most people who qualify for food stamps, more than likely will also qualify for TANF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This is a cash assistance program. A recipient is given an EBT card, and just like a bank card it can be used at ATM's. For some families that's several hundred dollars a month.

While many people who need welfare play by the rules, some don't and spend their money in strip clubs or casinos, or instead of buying milk they spend it on beer and cigarettes. And there's no way for the government to track where that money is going. "That really provokes the tax payers who are working hard to pay their taxes and seeing other citizens take that money and blow it," said Senator Arthur Orr of Decatur.

Senator Orr introduced a bill that would curb some of the misuse of tax dollars. Right now, there is a policy in place that prohibits the misuse of funds, but no penalties. His bill changes that. In addition, if passed by the house places like strip clubs and bars would not be allowed to have ATM's that accept EBT cards.

"Taxpayers resources are so scarce. We need to do everything we can to make sure they are being spent on the families and not the adults who may want to spend it on liquor or casinos or tattoos."

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