Republican lawmakers in the Illinois House say the state could save a lot of money by tightening welfare rules. They unveiled a package of reforms at Memorial Hall in Rockford Wednesday.
House minority leader Tom Cross was joined by Rockford-area Republicans John Cabello and Joe Sosnowki to introduce three proposals they hope to pass in the final weeks of the legislative session. Cross says “taxpayers are struggling, too, so we need to be as diligent as we can.” Cabello says the plan is to stop waste and save the state money.
“We’re not trying to hurt folks, obviously, we want to help wherever can. But we want to make sure the money is there for the people who need it, not for the people abusing the system.”
Two bills (HB3174 and HB2490) aim to keep inmates and people with outstanding warrants from receiving public aid. Another would limit (HB2784) what people can spend cash benefits on: alcohol, guns, and lottery tickets would be among the taboo purchases. Sosnowski says he has heard stories of people spending their state benefits on cigarettes and even strip clubs.
A third proposal would require photo IDs on LINK cards (HB0133), which are modern-day food stamps. Updated legislation would allow others to shop for LINK card users, but only with a photo ID.
The sponsors of the package are hoping to garner the support of some Democrats when they return to Springfield next week.