Governor LePage Issues Statement on Liberal Legislature’s Rejection of Welfare Reform Bills

April 3, 2014

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 3
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage released a statement today after the Legislature rejected four bills he proposed to reform welfare.

“I’m appalled that liberal legislators would reject these common-sense bills to reform our welfare system. Despite overwhelming data and firsthand accounts by well-respected law enforcement officials, liberals keep saying welfare fraud and abuse is ‘anecdotal.’ Mainers are rightfully outraged their hard-earned tax dollars are being abused, and they know these liberals are out of touch with reality. Once again, they are playing politics instead of doing what’s right for the Maine people.

“These liberal legislators and the media claim there is only a small percentage of fraud and abuse, but that percentage adds up to millions of wasted taxpayers’ dollars. While they squabble over what percentage of welfare fraud is acceptable, our Administration is working to stop 100 percent of welfare fraud.”

The Governor’s proposals are less strict than those in Massachusetts, which has a Democratic Governor and Democratic majority in the Legislature. In Massachusetts, it is illegal to use EBT cash to purchase alcohol, tobacco, bail, firearms, lottery tickets, jewelry, tattoos, body piercings, pornographic performances or vacation services. Massachusetts EBT cards cannot be used in casinos or on cruise ships. They cannot be used in stores that sell pornography, ammunition, rent-to-own furniture or manicures.

The Governor’s proposals would:

Prevent the use of EBT cards outside of Maine;
Prevent the use of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits for alcohol, tobacco products, lottery tickets and bail;
Require job-ready TANF applicants to look for three jobs before receiving welfare benefits; and
Remove state exemptions allowing TANF recipients to get around the federal work requirement.