The state Senate today plans to pass legislation that would ban the use of welfare money being used at strip clubs, liquor stores or casinos.
In his budget address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month proposed a ban Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, or EBT, from being used at the prohibited venues, with a punishment system in place both for welfare recipients and the establishments that allow them to be used.
Cuomo’s plan would put the state in compliance with the federal Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extended certain federally funded benefits but required the state to clamp down on fraud.
Senate Deputy Majority Leader Tom Libous, R-Binghamton, has pushed for a similar measure for years. He’s having a news conference today about the issue and then plans to get his legislation approved in the Senate this afternoon.
He said his bill goes further than Cuomo’s proposal and should be adopted by the Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, but has failed the past two years.
If the state doesn’t comply, the federal government could dock its benefits payments to New York by 5 percent, or $120 million annually.