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Welfare Spending Limit Targeted By New York Senate To Bar Spending On Cigarettes, Alcohol, Gambling

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Members of the New York Senate are proposing legislation to bar welfare spending on various social vices including alcohol, cigarettes, and gambling.

The New York Post reports the proposal is in accordance with a new federal law, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which will require states to enforce such limitations on welfare assistance by 2014.

Senator Thomas Libous expressed support for the "common sense" proposal and said the legislation would "protect hardworking taxpayers from abuse while ensuring that individuals receiving welfare benefits continue to get the temporary assistance they need and deserve."

In February, the House passed similar federal legislation to curb waste and fraud that requires states to ban welfare spending at similar venues including strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos.

As recently as last week, a controversial law was passed in Michigan's House requiring welfare applicants to submit to a drug test before becoming eligible for government assistance.

One Michigan politician tried to include an amendment to the legislation that would require the state to pay for such drug tests, but failed.

"Laws like this have been tried in other states, and experience has shown that drug testing aid recipients results in very few positive results," Rep. Maureen Stapleton (D-Detroit) said in a release. "There is no evidence to suggest that poor families are more likely to abuse drugs, just as there is no evidence that laws like this one result in any real savings to taxpayers."