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October 5th, 2010
No Wonder California is Broke

The Schwarzenegger administration is cutting off use of state-issued welfare debit cards at casinos across the country and on cruise ships, following a Times report that the aid cards (paid for by dollars from the stimulus package) have been used to spend or withdraw millions of dollars in benefits at popular vacation spots.

More than $69 million meant to help the needy pay their rent and clothe their children was accessed in 49 other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam between January 2007 and May 2010, according to data from the California Department of Social Services.

Department Director John Wagner instructed the vendor that administers the debit card program to make the changes Monday afternoon, in response to a story that ran in The Times' Monday edition.

Nice, only because they were exposed do they do anything.

More than $11 million was spent or withdrawn in Las Vegas, paying for luxury vacations and haute coture while you re-crunched your budget to feed a family of 4 on $300 a month.

On the high seas...$16,010 was withdrawn from ATMs on 14 cruise ships sailing from locations such as Long Beach, Rio de Janeiro and Beijing.

In June, only when The Times exposed that more than half of the state's licensed casinos and poker rooms were included in the ATM network that accepts the Electronic Benefits Transfer cards that the state issues to welfare recipients, did Schwarzenegger order Wagner to block access to benefits in California gambling centers



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