The crackdown on welfare spending has been the topic of several recent posts here. First New York proposed banning the use of food stamps to buy sugary drinks like soda. Then the Republican candidate for governor of Massachusetts complained that the Democrat was allowing state welfare recipients to use their electronic benefits cards to buy liquor, cigarettes, and lottery tickets. The latest development: Today's Los Angeles Times reports that Governor Schwarzenegger of California is joining the crackdown: "California welfare recipients will no longer be able to use their state-issued debit cards at medical marijuana shops, psychics, massage parlors and many other businesses whose services have been deemed 'inconsistent' with the goals of the program....The letter said the cards, which allow access to cash meant to help families pay rent and clothe their children, also will no longer work at bail bond establishments, bingo halls, gun shops, bars, race tracks, smoking shops, tattoo parlors and on cruise ships."
Last month, Schwarzenegger ordered casinos outside of California removed from the network after The Times reported more than $69 million in welfare benefits had been accessed from machines outside of the state since 2007, including nearly $12 million in Las Vegas.
About $1.5 million had been spent or withdrawn in Florida, state records show. More than $16,000 had been accessed on cruise ships, including several that sail primarily from Miami.
It looks like a nice piece of reporting by the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times's sneering at it notwithstanding.