Yesterday, Bluestem noted the Bigglesworthian claim Senator Hoffman made about reforms in Tales of Hoffman: Kvetchin' Gretchen saved billions and billions and billions by holding out.
In the op-ed section of today's Winona Daily News, Steve Drazkowski ups the Vergas yarn teller with this one:
There's also welfare reform. Welfare abuse in this state has alarmed a number of lawmakers for years.
Take our Electronic Benefits Transfer cards, which are supposed to provide food for needy Minnesotans.
We've found during the years that cards are shared, sold, or used for alcohol and tobacco products. New laws will require a recipient's name to be placed on the card, and prohibit alcohol and tobacco from being purchased with taxpayers' money. If the recipient abuses the privilege, he or she will lose it for good.
Hundreds of millions of dollars will be saved with these reforms. We will start future bienniums on a much lower spending curve than we would have without this budget.
The numbers behind Drazkowski's tangled yarn are much more humble. In At a glance: Health and Human Services budget, Minnesota Public Radio's Madeleine Baran reported:
Republican lawmakers introduced several bills earlier this year to restrict the use of welfare cards. They argued that some welfare recipients use the Electronic Benefit Transfer cards, which look like debit cards, to buy alcohol, tobacco, and lottery tickets - although a detailed look at a month's worth of EBT card transactions found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Hundreds of millions? There's fraud here alright, and it's name is rhymes with "razz."
That's some evil logic there, Steve. And of course the Draz couldn't resist touting that "General Fund" budget figure in his column. MnPublius's Jeff Rosenberg deftly points out the problem in MNGOP already trying to whitewash “beg, borrow, and steal”:
The ink hasn’t even dried, and they’re already trying to whitewash their irresponsible bill, pretending that putting our budget on a credit card is somehow a victory for Minnesotans. For example, they’re already lying about the size of the budget:
Republicans say they stuck to their pledge to spend only $34 billion over the next two years. The Dayton Administration says the tally is $35.7 billion. The difference depends on how you account for the shifts and borrowing.
More precisely, it depends on whether you account for shifts and borrowing. Apparently, the GOP is just going to pretend that their irresponsible borrowing never needs to be paid back. That’s a lie, and it is shockingly irresponsible.
And speaking of credit cards: who gets a cut from those EBT cards? Or are the banks waiving their fees for those receiving public assistance?