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State Rep. Shaunna O'Connell on EBT Reform

Dec 20, 2012|

Massachusetts State Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton) joined the show to talk about The Massachusetts legislature is calling for further reforms to the Electronic Benefit Transfer food stamp system after multiple reports of fraud uncovered a lack of oversight in the system. Should the system be revamped?

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Right now what we're gonna talk to a represented Sharma -- -- from -- And she's been a guest on our show many times earlier this year and as you know she's she's been enough. She's she's been leading the fight to reform the EDT card electronic benefits transfer cart program here in Massachusetts which is. Which is. Has wing of that waste fraud and abuse and today today or what sport they reform before it was issued. Sean thanks for being with us here of how we car show. It is if she can might be too cynical to say that here we are almost on Christmas Eve. You know when people are really aren't -- people stop paying attention in large part to the news that does somehow the report comes out right now is are they trying to -- -- the report. Well you know I get it from their report that it is you know I might actually bet it's been deadline date. That Catholic. Before we come out -- here awhile back that has. Has worked hard -- -- an important part of what I'm anyway but no I think it's cynical. So what's in the -- what is it you're so you filed a minority or what's in the what's in the -- what are there any are there any meaningful what changes in the way businesses and there in the report or any need for biz any meaningful changes suggest that. You know -- tell you that this report I would -- -- -- -- -- laugh TPC. Report and her you know you split recommendations. That would do not. Suggests. So they came out and act I could not say -- -- recommendation. One -- -- -- and Kate and forced it to that we help people how to use your card. And report to -- campaign that we are doing it. We're going to enforce the rules. Wow. That's rather mean spirited as -- -- They're giving you can't -- yeah you mean you can't go on the first of the month and sell Jiri BT card to lose to somebody for some cash to buy drugs weapons than reported stolen. Well yeah that's the one that I can I can't hire so. You know -- -- -- -- people that can appropriately and not go and buy alcohol cigarettes you know they'll they'll block it out her. The other record -- did what it pretty fines on businesses. Who is deputy are pretty certain that that with the. You managed yeah yet. And you know that that I could not find we increased the time and then the third want -- already a law. And it hit two. Letter high react or if you hit their bottom. But at linebacker in the air right utility. -- lot that we -- -- that. So so basically say is why reform what you -- victory defined on. People who you know aren't ridiculously step. The meaning that did not accept it. Right so -- was that that was what did you what -- you filed -- mind you tried to file minority report of my understanding is it's not even included in the it what's gonna be posted online -- -- filed away right. Don't look at it would not included. Art is considered report so what if you I don't anyway. With the clerk's office. Because people need to know what outfit going on port if you look at the report in the south that you're gonna pick it -- you know he's going that. And all of their evidence and -- -- eight. You know -- like the bay anecdotal information. Can't tell you -- what it is awkward and they have right. Yeah so let me give you a few because -- what they're not gonna believe that want to eat. Keep it so evidence that would use up to the conclusion that there is little bit you -- these are. What a survey of important things that you. There were asked my life if you buy out your car. For your -- -- -- your big. They interviewed 46. People. What are you 46 people about. Hardly. But that they could get. 46 people. And I would be yes -- gets the 46 people do not use their cards to buy alcohol or to get a to get a manicure is that correct. You know what I think one of them admitted to buying we're using what I think he only get like by -- that you eight. And I'm gonna guess -- that none of abused at the bailout any relatives of -- who have been arrested for heroin possession. -- that -- -- That was another in those were called the blues on the front page Boston Herald. Yeah well that what you know from. Right. Right or problems and lead us. The. Was a police in a -- yes your right. So let's hope they this this was their study was what they they interviewed 46 people. Yes and they you know they hit some other things they they are. That money is not taken out. And I looked. We error it is illegal take it out the a lot of people aren't going to look at -- -- takes money out. And it great that it's happening at Yale law related stores. So therefore they're not getting hit you. So it's so clear and so what -- got out of it ignited by a commodities that you know cash. Right so they just socially just go to well the ATM. Nearest to a liquor store or the manicure so alive and they get the cash out in the they use the cash. Yes people can you consider whatever they want we have no idea that you support it asked after a hole probably always comes back to. Almost nine fact that -- cast we don't know where the -- -- How much money is spent in Massachusetts on -- cards every year. Just on the path but that they -- act yes because maybe he typed that into account what do you want it fast yeah -- -- part. 413. Million dollars a year. 413. Million dollars a year and he -- the cards. Yeah I tested it later that evening Rick giving money to people I like about whatever it gave up. -- right where we look. That buys a lot of the buys a lot of forty announcers. -- was a little green jobs. Obviously bank and we need to find out -- bit -- that the biggest expense that people sitting is that right to kill it. So I wanna make sure that people pay their rating is utilities. But it's funny because we have to remember that so we're all here to Atlantic beach and take their ball. Now how -- but the it was -- investigation is that we for numbers I think I think the number was 20000 of these cards are. Our quote on quote lost. Every month is that correct. Yeah. 20000 cards -- I daresay that across the entire state. Nowhere near 20000 credit cards are lost every month yet -- right there. Vizio to BC BT cards 20000 of them are so our so called lost and and you know we we all know in a totally including including some state reps like represent homes. That he's he's been offered a hard. Two it would -- in a parking lot of a supermarket. And no doubt that hard when it was sold if not -- him to sought to the next guy coming through. It it was reported lost right. -- and I mean it you know represent all the all the laugh at it and it interestingly enough out. He and I worked together very tired what is it we have to hear you -- an update to the convention. This year I thought it was very important to keep it a bit more. What league they probably -- capture Wofford they thought they -- you know. But. Because they are both of you so disarming this is it. So fool who was actually -- something this thing I mean who's who wore whether -- Russians who don't love what they're big John Hancock's on this thing like it was like it was legitimate war. Yeah everybody voted for it. And -- now. And it you know how to operate my minority report today it bit. You know you're paying a little bit YouTube have absolutely no added to prove. And I hear -- how that we did that but that certain. Restricted or. You sit and -- on pop in and we don't know about Pacman. We don't know what. Right and of course there's no there's no interest in in putting the putting a photo -- be on these cards because as as we're told by these liberals slipped. You don't want to give a free tuition to illegal aliens in state school somehow we're it would cost too much money. -- to do was spend a couple of bucks to put a photo like the army's cards. Yeah I mean it actually get to on that consistent on this yeah but you know we we -- at any time for debate in the right. I knew I could look we need -- and -- that we really want to do some good work here and it. The commission did. Until October 16. We have our first and that meeting would it -- -- -- until October 30. And that they would cut off of that matters. I think -- well. So us more about the week. To profit goes through all the information today about the -- it. And it would fit -- and picking up front that I'm very pleased with our whole thing went down. Somebody the somebody just the text the best and by the way you could still text -- -- We have but he we have -- she can not read the tax. But someone said that is there any way of knowing I don't think there is like when asked the question history we have no no knowing how much of this money. This 400 million or so actually goes south. Could we we've again we've heard anecdotally. You know we hear from people who worked supermarkets with a western union. Office there are counter and they say that these people get that they go to the ATM machine get the cash out the just and the cash immediately down the south of the border. Yeah and there are no way yet there is no way else. How that or stomach goes up there doing the and it people actually use your card out of state to get back. You can't they're not happy about that aspect here and then they'll they like and you know that is out there would have been him. So in other words basically there's there's no among that it in the amongst the democratic establishment that controls the state there's no interest in he's cracking down on this massive amount of fraud that's going on here is there. There don't seem to be a lot of you know we talked about doing a Catholic that that was all that was presented it -- and you know at that point technology. Isn't fair. To stop. And get it like access -- has -- it we don't even at. It and yet you know hundred dollar right. We can't not doing so that it was very it would have looked this up. Can't hit it -- weren't at this point -- -- -- to be able to I wanted to execute and it says okay let's make people. That art program page here click utilities. It's. And that way we have -- being -- utilities they're the biggest expenses. And then you know where -- you read it but I'm not allowed to operate. That it is arbitrary deadline. No I don't pay enough to they act different and while he what they have them. So so the only two people who who refused to sign this were the two Republicans on the committee Shawna you show on and a senator have what about when he. How -- you know I'll hang up. Well again I can't hear anything it that you hear me. -- -- We can't hear me. Did your job. They weren't a problem here. She she hung up okay we'll try to it will try to get her back on the we'll try to get back on the line right now I think we're gonna problem whether it. 18774692. -- 322 that's the toll free number about -- our show. We're here to the Kowloon we're gonna try to get away now which Cadillac here -- moment. Okay. John I was gonna ask you so the only two people who saw who didn't did not sign this this report were the two Republicans on the committee you -- does senator Evelyn from Bob -- right. That's right yeah we will we were definitely outnumbered. What's fiction called let's take some calls for Sean no model we have state rep for -- on about this meeting again. We we almost this abuses going on in and we all know that the the the governor on down the democratic establishment have no no interest not. In stopping -- these these are their constituents and you know it was as though as the governors told us repeatedly. That not just the shop also it might newspaper The Herald that whenever we print any of these. These horror stories which are I'm contradicted. By by -- body he always just says it's just in the unit is just an image that's relatives. David your next with Howie Carr and represented Sean O'Connell go ahead David. How ya wanna I wanna burn up if there -- welcome them. Bring them. Well I'm Gloria -- here. Well -- in order to help out real game. We -- -- -- all look at turned up the beans you'll. At approximately every American hard work turned up. Well hold on we have to look from -- -- Charlotte is Chris. The -- more problems here go ahead David keep talking -- every BP. What so you you didn't. You didn't have the the opportunity to use your -- your food stamps to buy liquor did you want 8774694322. I'm now we are. 877 -- 694322. Just talked to a guy it was so much here's the US. It thanks for them we're giving you. I don't that's. To -- suites this time of year you're gonna -- it. Well liked them when my complaining about them at them but I'm not observing amount observing -- to -- diets these days when I'm trying my best. Just you know my will -- week 1877469432. -- but it we have everything straightened out now argue their shot up. Okay does speak up a little bit where Jews who just OK we got it we got it okay. But it takes a -- wanted to take some more calls for rush on a few of the questions about the the EDT report that's. Looks like it's another who are just sort of half hearted attempt to war I don't ups ease the the taxpayers nothing nothing really is -- is -- to be accomplished they. They conducted the an exhaustive survey of 46 people. Thought he hits. And Canada believes the boy you know it that is. It it just blows your mind when I think what it wouldn't say -- sick people is representative of that -- seven. Where where where did they come up with the number 46 by the. I think that only people they could get. It has its statement about like. But I do it and that. They didn't have a lot of time I'm quite frankly we needed more it was real power so thorough investigation and that. Boy it's it's it's just like a slap in the face -- taxpayers forties and. We did it the other do not pay commission. Yeah that in report that came out of it. 18774. Another blue ribbon. Blue ribbon -- blue ribbon. Walter your next with how we car at Sean O'Connell state rep from upon go ahead Walter. You're there while -- yeah go ahead. And it probably about how some of the book -- but they weren't on the increase previous -- -- at the sign up with. How much live in the former patriot -- -- I I couldn't hear very well. He said -- he said that that they're running ads saying get trying to get people to sign up for wicket may have -- a former member of the patriots. -- Who's promoting this pretty big bad. They didn't try to get people on these welfare programs for rough for a number years and this goes back even before Obama became president this goes back the Bush Administration doesn't Chara. I think they have been trying to remember it I don't know how how I take pride you know how hard back. But -- did seem to be stepped up however I do that they that we have a lot more oversight and restrictions. Then any other program that I'm aware though that you brought much more of a tight ship at least in that program where you can only five. The shape items that are on your -- So it's a yes or too little it's a little better run thanks for the call Walt or 18774694322. Linda you're next with how we car and John O'Connell go ahead let. I -- primary -- -- -- Christmas. I think camp -- -- that yes CNN got note that they only served 840 some odd people there countless that this either but. You can't get the most money that -- electric bill in brands. Right. It back. So why couldn't you get set up direct payments will be electric company. And then you know I -- -- that the program would be a little more complicated it. It would -- need this. He's right if you follow other money. Opened -- that is a great suggestion that's exactly what I want to do. Well we can't do it have an online that then where people go. Date they caught the payments to be made online and then GPA then you know exactly are wired the money to the landlord or the utility. So that is something we can't remember something that I want you. And and that he you know a part time might count somebody it was. I am right here you know now on the target them and baby out of -- and yet -- out. That have a lot to do it over night. But they'll keep it if we have the people pay their rent utilities saw live we'll have a paper trail and will now. Whether they're paying the bill that they say they need the money for. Which Charlotte did they ask anybody if they're working under the table -- what they're getting their road EDT cards I mean surely would get a very truthful response from this exhaustive survey of 46 people. Better question but enough -- not on the -- -- ha. Yeah. But you know what you don't let it -- -- at that actually. Toiletries was identified as the number one item that people lie. And -- of anything else toiletries toiletries and then that's clothing. Then transportation and utility then something. And what's that -- and the average the average on the beat -- per month it's 500 dollars correct. It like for your pocket for sixty at how at how -- -- go what's what -- how high can night Tenneco. I didn't go up. 763. Dollars -- I'm not mistaken I believe that the highest. 763. Dollars but no it but nobody copped to was abusing the system where nobody chooses this been like for the Walpole mass of people that commit a crime. You know I'm sure everybody in our effort but it Walpole was an innocent person and everybody here is an innocent for everybody here is. You know abiding by the rules and they really do they really do lose those supposedly he beat the cards every month now. -- -- What's been. About half the people in the program yet 300 god of war. -- And that they have to pay they they don't have to pay anything when they lose a cart correct. Well and a lot of plays we -- this -- past year in July. We did put up for you know a ruling in the air campaign if you not a card three time. That you had to pay for your replacements. And we -- you know that Obama we just yet. I don't think it should be present the their -- That we -- -- -- whose card and then you have to paper -- and that is supposed to be in place. Also what the ball didn't veto that that's supposedly in place. Well he may have vetoed it but did you know we overrode whatever he vetoed and that is to think. However you know they might start at 5 o'clock in the. Right and I'm sure I'm sure that you can get a hardship waiver does all the harder the -- there for everything in the program ever. Right exactly social there's -- so. In other words -- probably no one has hit it had even pay five bucks do it to together at that I don't sister yet. It's just so it's just so outrageous that this is this is going on this is just totally out of control. It's really too bad because it's a program that that we need to help people like that we. We've let it get out of control. If there's absolutely no integrity left in the program and you know it's a joke now and if it's unfortunate because it could be really good program. Yeah -- -- in there it and and and again there's that you're you know. Mean that this is one party state I mean you know like you know I'm I'm glad you won senator had -- that and a handful of all the Republicans are trying to do something but you're you know you're outnumbered by Democrats and and they have no interest whatsoever in in the trying to get a handle on this. Waste fraud and abuse that's going on here Joseph Euronext with Howie Carr and bush -- no model state rep upon go ahead Joseph. Erica this is all well you. I have a question and I plead ignorance on this but could they simply you'd eat -- -- like -- part art it's like it but what they need but they can't get act act. Well. We tried to look at but it very difficult can make it but it can't get any cast. We can do that at 8 PM but we can't. And the technology is not giving it to make it's that you can not get money back -- the war which you purchase something. So for example we really can't do it. Particularly when I buy groceries for their overlap into our mark at that apartment here are my body. I -- -- they yet but it is EDT -- like the group. I -- -- Clay -- being ignorant how. They're not backing down. Well I can't beat that technologically. We could -- don't get the cast back but that it is not possible to force that. -- picking -- your pictures on the PG cart. We talk about that that has not been something we've been able to get done here and now. Joseph Joseph -- -- -- they were called when that when this was first suggested about the pictures. All these all these state reps who wallow wanna always increase welfare payments and make sure that you get a sex change operation in prison illegally aliens get that three to wish it. All of a sudden they were crying out that which is the terrible terrible. Waste of the taxpayers money to put these that the pace what is it seven bucks a hard. Charlotte to one active to put the but the photos on. Yeah you know I'm not certain that Mexico aren't we we used to do it I think picked up doing it like 2004. Yeah it is what is the lost card canceled. It is when he reported -- Not just stolen then it it gets set up you don't get the you know all of my loaded again. Yeah 18 sevenths job at least that would uphold. You know hopefully that the department of so called transitional assistance is trying to pull one over -- you way. A member of the general war. I elected official -- law. Wreck your next with Howie Carr and John O'Connell state rep on the go ahead -- I LE eight idea you like it went marketing yet to be eight in at any rate is the only one -- now -- MB EC act. And it it he underlined English speaking -- whole. You know the app support going to products. An -- 110 dollars. Like it acts like attack while I didn't mean it it wouldn't get a tour and up and so it's -- what he wanted to kill -- all the records and don't act. Eight for life. Yeah how many times we've heard that story -- I mean it's just it's just amazing it's like nobody it. It's it's it's a story that the that upon a woman from Walpole told you know what are. -- whatever she would whenever she would turn down the BT card days that people widget -- can pull out of a plot Awad and and pay for the eighteen dollar -- what can. You know they opt into an issue see -- EC play. He did that and we have to attracted the eligibility. And how deeply to getting into the bit and on the last commit and I was on Alley I was as sort. Like yea that they have the absolutely it's absolute highest. Level. Eligibility requirements and verification but we know that -- okay. While obviously not a mean that you don't look at the look at you know -- -- -- -- Tony was on was on welfare when she was an illegal -- I mean again this is. Didn't work and I I know the answer shop but. Would -- -- wanna ask. Any of the -- the 46 people if they were in the country legally if they were citizens are they were illegal aliens. That is. Is not on the questionnaire that. What us what a surprise I guess it was just yet hosted someone merely overlook that question will be on the -- when I'm sure. You know what they did ask -- -- it if we gave you an extra hundred dollars a month. Would you be except they it has slipped sit down. -- giving back a hundred but you have to catch up spending you know on the -- And. Mean we have -- that we have to oblige them to take free money. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- They may feel that want to -- that that even if we get maximum about -- While. That's it yeah so bad that culture of I mean that. You know I'm sure they didn't want that that question to turn out what the answer to turn out the way it was but it sums it up doesn't. They -- they want they want the cash because they can use the cash were. Everything for everything and we all know what everything means in this case Peter your next with Howard cargo ahead Peter. Yeah I want the program but as I listen he's off. -- get the impression you're about these people and have some of the year. Mean if they're entitled of the moms who are you could dictate what it is and if they're entitled to a how can you weren't good up and say well I don't want them as on. He's been -- on that you bring up until the right reputed to be that they're entitled to what they can spend it is they see that. Well people I've actually entitled to it way we -- -- programs that help people out when they need help. And American Idol Gartner group monitor -- -- career. There are a lot of people appropriate city in the program and I already stated. That there are people who you need -- that and and unfortunately these programs are being. -- and integrity being ruined by the people who abuse it. And we you'd -- money government money taxpayer money into these things that pat is not your money it's the taxpayers' money where and I cannot help you out. And we don't mind -- So people -- back out. Peter you still there under Peter Peter what are your computer do you think people should be. Using their EDT cards too wide the as bail money to get out after the arrest and heroin possession. Should they be using welfare money that that two for bail money. Either way it was a date yet but I'm. Did it I don't want then we will use it always. Or Peter should they be using it to -- as bail money. -- remember. -- have you thought about should they be using it to buy booze. There are greater Europe. Here now Peter Peter in -- that -- people were basic necessity. And it is host to -- plan that does it. If you're on this that the program your priorities should be up to get all hot and this that and in your purchases you're. To reflect and so going out is that the money. You know that aren't like that so if you're if you're spending money and it even by -- -- in everything in the morning. And I think that the tickets and you -- And that and in the end and -- money. You have to have your priorities right. After -- If people went -- program the first word that they were doing well -- society so they're gonna make. -- there -- a heroin dealers at -- went pretty well Peter but did you read that are harder. I wrote a column last week up in April they arrest -- eleven alleged heroin dealers in guess what they all had EDT cards. They every single one of them had had they were on SSI SSBI in the heady BT cards okay. Hey Raj Shah shop thanks for being with us and I keep us informed and I'm sure it'll be another blue ribbon commission next year. Yeah thanks very strip that everyone happy and have a great weekend that vowing. Merry Christmas to you to shop and everybody in in upon. Will be right back -- -- car. --