On Thursday, The Maine Heritage Policy Center, which owns and operates The Maine Wire, made public three years’ worth of transaction data related to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash welfare program.
“For the first time, the people of Maine can see how their tax dollars are being spent on Maine’s cash welfare program,” said MHPC CEO J. Scott Moody.
“It is our hope that this data will provide a solid, factual foundation for current policy debates over welfare reform,” he said. “Based on this data, it is no longer possible for reasonable people to conclude that welfare abuse does not exist. The data shows that Maine’s cash welfare has been accessed in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It shows cash welfare has been accessed at liquor stores, bars, cigarette shops, strip clubs and amusement parks.”
“This blatant abuse of Maine’s TANF program is not compatible with its goal of encouraging benefit recipients to become healthy and productive members of the community,” he said. “The people of Maine should demand responsible welfare reform that not only respects Maine taxpayers, but also ensures the TANF program is achieving its goals.”
The data can be viewed through an interactive web application here.