Senate GOP to fight abuses of welfare cash

Oregon Senate Republicans

Senate Republicans to take on abuses of social safety net programs again

Salem, OR – Senate Republicans will continue to push legislation that can safeguard the integrity of Oregon’s public assistance programs. Data recently released to The Oregonian revealed disturbing evidence of misuse of these funds. In an effort to protect programs for needy Oregon families, Republicans introduced legislation in 2011 to require drug testing for individuals on public assistance.

“Oregon’s assistance programs are meant to help struggling Oregon families pay for groceries, gas and rent while they get back on their feet,” said Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) who sponsored the 2011 legislation. “A few bad apples are abusing these payouts to gamble, drink and visit strip clubs. Putting a stop to that type of exploitation protects taxpayer dollars and shields the resources for those who need them most.”

The state currently disburses $16 million every month to families that are far enough below the federal poverty line to qualify. The money is made available through the Oregon Trail Card and is intended to be used for necessities. Currently more than 37,000 families benefit.

However, new data shows a series of transactions that have occurred in Oregon casinos, liquor stores, bars and strip clubs. For example, $1,200 in transactions were conducted at a Portland bar and dancing establishment. Republicans want to put restrictions in place that prohibit transactions that are clearly flagrant abuses of the program.

“It isn’t just inappropriate, it undermines the effectiveness and mission of the program and puts the families that truly are in need at risk,” said Starr. “Putting tighter restrictions in place on Oregon Trail Cards can help insure the long-term integrity of this program.”

Senate Republicans are working to draft legislation to address the problem.

The Oregonian article looked into abuses of the TANF program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program) – which is designed to help the poorest Oregonians by providing temporary financial assistance, with the aim of helping them get off of welfare – primarily through employment. TANF is in addition to other social safety net programs like food stamps, Medicaid & unemployment.

  • I think this is so ridiculous. The GOP has said the same thing in California. What they fail to say is that just because an ATM is in a bar doesn’t mean that person is going into there and spending the funds in there. Gladly I don’t have to partake in these programs, which requires you to be labeled a dead beat and criminal and every aspect of your life invaded by the GOP’s definition of smaller and less invasive gov’t. When I lived in a small town near riverside, ca the only place I could withdraw funds was at an ATM in a liquor store. The only store in the town that also sold diapers, formula, and milk. Too withdraw the funds anywhere else I would’ve had to find a ride out of town 20 miles and gone up the road some where else. The measly $450 a family of 3 receives in Oregon hardly covers rent. I’d like to see evidence these funds were spent on strippers and partying as I don’t know anyone on welfare who does this. I do hear a lot of people claiming they see these abuses, yet not one person has the gaul to report people committing fraud in the system. Its a crock of lies and GOP is number one public enemy to working parents on hard times. Thank God I’m out of fire and not one of the people the GOP is targeting. I’m very successful and I have everything right down to private insurance or I would be homeless and starving as I was when I participated in the supposed safety net. Give us jobs and stop the attack on poor, single parents, and elderly just trying to survive or get serious and just start shooting all the “freeloaders” in society you can never solve this issue.

    • 3H

      You will notice that on Oregon Cataylst there is a constant attack on the poor and the working classes.  The poor are to be treated like criminals, and preferably ignored.  If they can’t provide their own health care, too bad.  If they had made better decisions in their life, they wouldn’t be in the condition they are in.   Never mind that while anyone can “make it”, not everyone can.  

      Attack the working class by making unionization all the more difficult.  Don’t worry, the lower wages you’re earning will make for a better economy — not that you ‘ll necessarily share in it.  But, just trust them.  They have your best interests at work. Or, conversely, the miracle of the Free Market will look out for you.

      Now, given the central role that the financial sector played in the tanking of the economy, and the misery that resulted, you’d think that drug testing investment counselors, hedge fund managers, and bankers might be more pressing and appropriate.  Preferably weekly – and their entire families as well.  Might stop coke fueled suicide greed runs on the economy.

      • Bite It You Sorry LIB LOSER

        Nice collection of excuses Jen. You must also be one of those people that pays no real taxes. People like you are so easy to figure out. Is your husband/boyfriend as stupid as you too?

        • Uh yeah I have paid over $3,000 in taxes this year. 1/2 of which were from profit sharing and investments I have made. You really know something about me don’t you? I also have private insurance and I pay for my kid’s braces and their medical bill. So no I’m not that ez to figure out since you don’t know that I work for the largest banking corporation in America and I have no degree. Boy I must be stupid to have them paying for me obtain my degree in law. I put myself through school and overcame barriers coming into this world homeless at the age of 18 years old. I did it, and I’m glad I knew how to survive. Make your generalizations but I’m alright. And you bet your bootstraps if you knew who I was you’d be following me around like a dog in heat. Don’t worry I’ll be a good GOP christian and kick you in the face. LOL.

        • Oh and in regards to my husband of 12 years he is a good Dad caring for our disabled autistic son and his brothers, walking the dog all day, and caring for our others pets. He is embarrassed his wife makes 3x’s what he has ever made employed but glad we are paying down our debts in the middle of a recession. Walk a day in my shoes because I pay, people like you are so bitter it makes me pissed I felt compelled to tell you off.

  • Oregonnative

    I understand there are different family sizes that recieve this help.
    If the numbers are right, 16,000,000. / 37,000. equals about $ 47,000. per persson. Are those numbers realistic ?

    • Oregon Engineer

       check you math. 

    • 3H

      As Oregon Engineer said, check your math.  It pencils out to 432.00 (and some change) per family per month. 

      Per family, not per person.  Presumably a family is going to be, at a minimum, 2 people.  

      • Ardbeg

        Those damn Decimals! His 7th grade math teacher must have been a PERS loser who is hanging his head in shame

  • Garythegrubber

    I needs my money and I must say, it helps alot.

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