In an effort to make up for the $400 million gap in its state budget due to income tax cuts, Kansas is implementing a $25 per day limit on ATM withdrawals for people on welfare.
Gov. Sam Brownback defended the restriction when he signed the bill into law in April. The withdrawal restriction will come into effect in July.
“The primary focus is to get people back to work, because that’s where the real benefit is — getting people off public assistance and back into the marketplace with the dignity and far more income there than the pittance that government gives them,” the Republican governor said.
The new law comes as a number of Republican-controlled states cut public assistance funding, including Arizona, Missouri and Michigan. A recent study conducted by Pew Research Center found 73 percent of Republicans believe the government is unable to do much more to help the needy, with 32 percent of Democrats agreeing.
“If you look at cycles in history, you’ll see that there is compassion, then compassion fatigue and then blame,” Massachusetts Law Reform Institute policy analyst Patricia Baker said. “This happens because there’s impatience with the solution.”
Kansas’ new law also prohibits welfare recipients from using their benefits at “movie theaters and on cruise ships.” Despite the limitations, Brownback said he would be open to raising the limit if necessary to comply with federal policies,” which state that recipients of Temporary Assistant for Needy Family, “have adequate access to their cash assistance” and are able to withdraw funds “with minimal fees or charges.”
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