Testimony: Keeping Welfare Benefits Close to Maine


Testimony in Support of LD 498: “An Act to Prohibit the Use of the Electronic Benefits Transfer System Outside of Maine, Massachusetts or New Hampshire to Obtain Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program Benefits”

Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 498.

The programs which utilize EBT should be held to the highest standards of accountability, not only because they are funded by those who work, but because their intent is to feed the hungry and clothe the bare.

LD 498 would provide Maine taxpayers greater assurance that recipients of public assistance are not abusing a system meant to provide the essentials for those who are struggling. It is not fair to the taxpayer that their funds may be spent outside of Maine or our close neighbors. Those funds, since they were taken from Mainers, should stay close.

This bill is basic due diligence for legislators, those tasked with accountability and oversight of taxpayer dollars. The Legislature should work to provide stronger safeguards against inappropriate use of EBT cards and public assistance broadly. 

Please deem LD 498 “Ought To Pass” and contribute to a more fair and transparent welfare system to serve Mainers who need it most. Thank you for your time and consideration.