Sadly a common-sense welfare reform bill died in the Senate, a bill criticized by Barry Saunders in his June 23 column “Save us from poor lottery winners.” The reform was targeted at reserving resources for the truly needy and protecting limited taxpayer resources by cross-checking lottery winners with welfare recipients.
Unfortunately, it is misguided concerns expressed by those like Saunders that hurt the very people he wants to help. Food stamps are intended to help people who need a temporary hand-up. Many residents across North Carolina work very hard, often multiple jobs, to make ends meet, and it is their tax dollars that are helping those in need. That makes it morally indefensible to not protect the integrity of these programs.
Perhaps people with little money should not be buying lottery tickets, but I think we can all agree that if someone wins thousands of dollars, hard-working Americans should not be compelled to continue to fund their welfare benefits.
Other states have identified tens of millions of dollars won by lottery winners on their welfare programs, even repeat winners who did not report their winnings. As a result, taxpayers are subsidizing those who are not in need of benefits.
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Research has shown the positive results of welfare reform across the nation. Hopefully when policymakers in North Carolina learn more, they will pass reform.
Senior Fellow, Foundation for Government Accountability