Massachusetts governor's welfare card restrictions would still allow purchases at nail salons and jewelry stores
BOSTON – Following the Massachusetts Legislature's move to restrict welfare purchases, Gov. Deval Patrick has countered with his own set of recommendations that would ban electronic benefit transfer card purchases at certain businesses, but not on certain items.
As an amendment to state budget legislation signed Sunday, Patrick cut the Legislature's list of businesses that cannot accept EBT card purchases. Among the changes, Patrick would still allow the cards to be used at nail salons and jewelry stores -- points of purchase lawmakers wanted to eliminate.Point of contention: In MA, EBT cards are not given for unemployment benefits. These cards are being given to people to purchase the very basics: shelter, clothing, etc. Why on earth nail salons would be allowed is beyond me - unless, of course, one is pandering for votes. It's simply beyond the pale, though, that the Governor would go over the (90% Democrat-controlled) MA legislature to pass this specific exemption. This exclusion is but the smallest token of trying to reduce fraud, and Cadillac Deval wants no part of it.
Now, Patrick isn't running for re-election, and a move like this solidifies that choice. He's not a stupid man, by any means; some of his moves have been particularly tone-deaf, but it strikes me that there has got to be a reason behind him thumbing his nose at his own party for this one. There is, quite frankly, no reason whatsoever for the EBT card - allegedly given to the neediest of families - to cover something as frivolous as a nail salon. It's puzzling why he would choose this particular hill to die on - if the legislature overrides his veto, they're essentially calling him done before he's out of office.
I'm also thinking that he's not planning on running for higher office, because Deval "Welfare for Nails" Patrick just gave any future opponent his own "Dukakis in a tank" moment...
That is all.