States’ bold move to stop welfare funded-cruises, psychics, massages and more

Two middle American states are taking bold steps to eliminate frivolous spending by welfare recipients.

Lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas have introduced legislation to limit what government benefits can be spent on.

Kansas is much closer than Missouri to imposing the restrictions as House Bill 2258, which prevents those on government assistance from visiting movie theaters and swimming pools as well as bans gambling and getting tattoos, awaits the signature of Gov. Sam Brownback, according to the Washington Post.

“We’re trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended,” Kansas state Sen. Michael O’Donnell told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”

According to the Post, the legislation will limit spending on massages, spas, tobacco, arcades, cruise ships, visits to psychics, nail salons, lingerie, theme parks, adult entertainment and body piercings. It will also impose a restriction of cash withdrawal for “Temporary Assistance for Needy Families” recipients to $25 per day.

The Post reported that Brownback is expected to sign the legislation and his spokeswoman Eileen Hawley issued a statement that seems to support that report.

“The governor believes strongly that employment is the most effective path out of poverty and he is supportive of work requirements that help people become self-sufficient,” the statement read.

In Missouri the restrictions are farther off.

State Rep. Rick Brattin introduced legislation that would ban food stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak,” according to the Post.

“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” Brattin said.

“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” he added. “When I can’t afford it on my pay, I don’t want people on the taxpayer’s dime to afford those kinds of foods either.”

While these solutions seem like common sense they aren’t being met with open arms by everyone.

“We pat ourselves on the back that our TANF rolls have gone down exponentially and we say it’s because all those people are now working,” Kansas Sen. Laura Kelly told the Capital-Journal. “We don’t know that and I’m guessing it’s not the truth.

“Now what we want to do is take the same mean-spirited policies that we’ve implemented over the years and we want to codify them,” she continued. “I can only assume that the motive behind this is truly malice of intent.”

Leave it to a Democrat to see malicious intent in legislation designed to make sure funds used to prevent people from starving aren’t being used on tattoos and adult entertainment.


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