Calling it common sense reform, Representative Kurt Daudt authored and successfully passed a bill this past session relating to welfare reform.
Rep. Daudt spoke about the bill that puts new restrictions on those using Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards that provide cash and food support benefits to Minnesotans.
Rep. Daudt explained in August 2008, Minnesota House Republicans uncovered data from the Minnesota Department of Human Services showing that 309,717 EBT transactions took place in other states other than Minnesota costing taxpayers more than $10 million.
He also explained an investigative report by a Twin Cities television station uncovered 54,000 transactions in September 2010 took place in states other than Minnesota including Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. Of those transactions, 101 were at liquor stores in eight different states.
The legislation prohibits EBT recipients from purchasing tobacco or alcohol products with their EBT cards. In addition, the bill limits use of the cash portion of EBT cards to Minnesota and surrounding states. Rep. Daudt also said effective June 1, names will be printed on EBT cards.
“This law will potentially save millions,” Rep. Daudt said.
Rep. Daudt said overall he is comfortable with the outcome of the session.
“We came in with a $6.2 billion deficit and we are now looking at a $1.2 billion surplus,” Rep. Daudt said. “Even though the surplus is already accounted for budget reserves and cash flow, we did accomplish a surplus without raising taxes. We felt if we raised taxes it would prolong the recovery from the economic slump we are in. We want to get people back to work and curb state spending.”
This past session, Rep. Daudt served as vice chair of Rules and Legislative Administration and served on the following committees: Commerce and Regulatory Reform, Higher Education Policy and Finance, Property and Local Tax Division, Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance and Redistricting.
Rep. Daudt said he also spent a lot of time working on Green Acres and Rural Preserves tax relief programs. Rep. Daudt explained Green Acres was changed so that property, of any size acreage, be contiguous to property enrolled in Green Acres and under the same ownership.
“Our area was really hit hard by the Green Acres and this bill was changed that allowed people to keep their entire farm with Green Acres,” Rep. Daudt explained.
One highlight of the session for Rep. Daudt was when he was part of the Republican rebuttal following Gov. Dayton’s State of the State address.
“I served on six committees and stayed busy while I was down there,” Rep. Daudt said. “But overall, I’m happy with the session.”