STEPHEN MCCARRON

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Welfare Reform

There isn't much that the State can do except investigate and prosecute cases of welfare fraud. The monies involved are federal funds administered by the State. The State has to follow federal guidelines. It is important to know that EBT is the card itself, think of it as a debit card. The funds loaded unto it come from various programs, SNAP which is the former Food Stamp program, TANF Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and ASPIRE which is a job loss retraining program. Both TANF and ASPIRE are cash benefit programs. The recipient cannot be told how to spend those funds. Someone who receives those benefits can buy alcohol or smoking products if they want. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase energy drinks, and various junk foods.
In Lewiston at least, and I know this for a fact from dealing with a bad tenant, people will trade their benefits to dealers for 50 cents on the dollar.
No one wants to see anyone go hungry, or without a home, but if I don't have the money to buy something I go without. No one has an inalienable right to an energy drink and a pack of cigarettes.