Lyons Votes for EBT Reform

Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) votes to protect reforms of EBT system.

Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) joined all House Republicans and 121 House Democrats in a strong bi-partisan show of support for reforming the state's EBT card program. On Wednesday, July 11, more than 150 House members voted to strengthen legislation designed to reform the EBT card system by overriding Gov. Deval Patrick's veto of those sections of the state budget.

"This is the kind of broad-based bi-partisan cooperation we can all be proud of," Lyons said. "I hope Republicans and Democrats continue working together to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse throughout state government. The Patrick Administration too often puts its effort into thwarting reforms and blocking transparency. In this case, the House of Representatives stood up and voted for government reform and for our taxpaying families.

“These reforms," Lyons continued, "are common sense measures that seek to reduce the excesses that are all too rampant in this $415 million cash benefit program. The purpose of the EBT program is to assist those in need during difficult times, not to use taxpayer dollars on non-essential purchases in jewelry stores and nail salons.”

Lyons said that this action represents his overall approach to reforming state government. "I represent the working families and struggling small business of the Merrimack Valley," Lyons emphasized. "Our taxpayers understand the importance of having a job, earning a living, and acting responsibly. That's why we must make certain that their every tax dollar is spent wisely.

"Taxpaying families," Lyons stressed, "are contributing more than their share. It's time for the state bureaucracy to share some of the sacrifice, as well."    

Lyons concluded by noting that the fight for government reform and transparency demands constant work and vigilance. “Although we successfully overrode this governor's veto," Lyons said, "the reform of the Electronic Benefits Transfer system is far from resolved. We will continue to work for more stringent safeguards that must be enacted to prevent the waste, fraud, and abuse that are endemic to the current system.”

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Walter White July 12, 2012 at 11:37 PM
Thank You Rep. Lyons! Finally some common sense going on. It needs to go further though....like drug testing and photo ID's. I work and needed to get a drug test and have a photo ID...why wouldnt EBT cardholders ( people taking my money) need to do the same? I dont mind helping someone in need but when it becomes expected and abused...theres a problem!
MikeA July 13, 2012 at 01:39 PM
EBT reform is one area where Rep. Lyons provides significantly more bi-partisanship than Barbara L'Italien (or the Governor).
Dirk Anderson July 13, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Sam, while I'm not against the drug testing, I do question if it would save money in the long run. I may cost more to test everyone than the money saved by kicking some out and add more layers of government employees. I would like some data from the other states that have applied this first to see if it is actually worthwhile.
Becca Bell July 13, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Yay! for some rare common sense in MA! It's nice to see a rep fighting FOR the taxpaying citizens unlike Deval Patrick who proves over and over that he is against us...protecting the likes of illegal drivers and fighting to allow people to use EBT's for alcohol, tobacco and strip clubs! Dump Deval!! Let's get some more people like Lyons to represent us!
Becca Bell July 13, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Well said, Sam! And I'm sure doing a simple drug test is way cheaper that having a drug addict on the dole (our money!) their whole life.
Joe Bill July 13, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I was behind a woman the other day in Market Basket who had 2 grocery carts and in her carts had lobster, sirloin steaks, etc.. She used her EBT card for the purchase. In addition she was sending messages on her iPhone. Coincidentally, I parked 2 spots from her and she drove a newer Eddie Baur Ford Explorer. It's disgusting!
Jeff Twohig July 13, 2012 at 06:04 PM
There is no question about who will be looking out for the taxpayers in the race between Jim Lyons and Barbara L'Italien. She is a tax and spend lIberal who see the taxpayers as her personal ATM. How can we miss you Barbara if you won't go away ?
Walter White July 13, 2012 at 10:43 PM
The drug testing could be contracted out....like its done in the private sector. Companies do not hire new employees to perform drug testing. The cost savings would be worth it and it would be the start to stopping the auto EBT card for all family members mentality. Gov. Patrick is wrong on this issue...it seems people have no shame in taking free handouts....I say, Put some of the shame back into getting free handouts.
Jeff Twohig July 14, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Btw, if you think Barbara L'Italien "quit" her job at the Treasuer's office, think again. As with everything that goes on with the Democrat majority up on Beacon Hill, be assured that, with a "win and a nod", Barbara was told that, "unofficially", she is on a "leave of absence" in the event her campaign is unsuccessful. They threw the Democrat "safety net" out there for her after her loss in the last election, do you seriously think they wouldn't do it again ?
Jeff Twohig July 14, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Typo: "Wink and a nod" (from last post)
Janellen27 July 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Last week, Meg-a-Low Mart set up 3 tables in the front of one of their stores and lines of people filling out apps for EBT cards then being handed the cards on the spot! Cards were probably being resold as soon as they hit the parking lot for cash to support drug habits. Cards have been used in strip clubs, liquor stores, lottery tix, you name it. Some venues have signs on the windows that say, "We Accept EBT Cards", even when the venue shouldn't. Food Stamps used to be for food and store personnel would refuse them for non-essentials. Deval says it's way too difficult to control the usage. (Oh, yeah? It used to be controlled, but that was before you were Governor! Now it's a runaway train) I was shocked that he got reelected, but then again, read between the lines; it's politics. Guess who his supporters are. Don't vote for someone who is going to do away with our necessary entitlement programs. Don't vote for someone who is going to continue to give our "stuff" away to outsiders who don't deserve it. Neither extreme will work for The Citizens. Vote for someone who wants to preserve our benefits/entitlements, for those whom they were designed for. And, when you find out who that person is, please let me know!
Sarah July 15, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Um. Meg-a-Low Mart is a fictional store on the cartoon show King of the Hill. What gives?
Janellen27 July 15, 2012 at 11:12 PM
And, by the way, voting for "EBT Reform" is like voting for "Hope & Change". Over 50% of Voters didn't think to ask "what TYPE of change, specifically; what does change mean?" Ask what KIND of EBT reform, specifically; ask for details. Same with other obscure, generic actions that involve words like "change" and "reform". Don't assume that the kind of reform the candidate has in his head is the same as the picture in yours. Based on past trends, it probably isn't!
Don Ordway July 16, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Jim Lyons understands Americas needs. Jim Lyons will fight for Americas needs. Jim Lyons knows no fear. Jim Lyons will help those with real needs. Jim Lyons is a compassionate Leader, he has no equal.
Bill Callahan July 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I would not dispute that any welfare fraud is too much welfare fraud. However, in fiscal terms, EBT reform is nibbling around the edges. Healthcare payment reform will do much more to save money and unfortunately, Rep. Lyons voted against that unlike wiser Republicans like Bruce Tarr.
Bob July 16, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Why does Massachusetts have 160 State Reps and California only 80? Why does Massachusetts have 40 State Senators when California has the same number? You want to remove waste and fraud? Start there! California population? Over 37 Million first in the nation Massachusetts population? Over 6 Million 14th in the nation!
Bill Gilman (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Don't be too hard on Massachusetts ... From our friends at Wikipedia -- "The General Court of New Hampshire is the bicameral state legislature of the U.S. state of New Hampshire. The lower house is the New Hampshire House of Representatives with 400 members. The upper house is the New Hampshire Senate with 24 members. With 424 members, the General Court is the largest state legislature in the United States and the fourth-largest English-speaking legislative body in the world," It's all perspective. Now, it should be noted that New Hampshire's legislators are not full time state employees. It is a true citizens' legislature.
Bob July 16, 2012 at 06:26 PM
Let me see... NH - 424 X $100 = $42,400 per year MA - 200 X $61,100 = $12 MILLION PLUS That is salary not per diem and committees pay. BTW - ONE Mass Legislator get's paid more with salary, committee and per diem in one year, than the entire NH legislature in 2 years!
Bryan McGonigle (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 08:23 PM
Just FYI, Florida tried the "welfare recipient drug testing" idea recently and it didn't save Florida any money. In fact it ended up costing them almost $100,000. The state has to reimburse applicants for the drug test (which cost $30 each) and 98% of the people passed it, so the state ended up having to pay for 98% of the drug tests to get 2% rejected. The end result, after you compare the cost of the program with the savings in rejecting the 2% that failed the drug test, was a deficit of about $45,000 out of the state's funds. And the program didn't see any change in applications either so it didn't deter people from seeking welfare.
Janellen27 July 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Sarah, I know that, and I'm willing to bet everyone knows which "real" store I'm referring to, including yourself.
Janellen27 July 16, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I actually did talk to Lyons, myself, about the very topics we are discussing, and more. told him he could place a sign on my lawn. I only hope he keeps his word about what he says he stands for and what he says he'll do.
Bob July 17, 2012 at 01:06 PM
Bryan, I need to look at the Florida numbers but if your 2% rejected rate is correct, that would save @$8.3 Million in Massachusetts based on the $415 Million tag in the article. It should have saved Florida @$4 Million if the numbers from a Tampa Times article are correct which is $35 per test per month for 1,500 recipients max. ($630,000 per year cost) I need to find more in depth numbers because it doesn't sound right to me. BTW - Why is Massachusetts paying @$415 Million a year in welfare benefits and Florida, with roughly 3X's the people, pays @$173 Million? Hmmmmmmmm...


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