New penalties against people who take advantage of state benefits are advancing at the Capitol. The bill kicks people off of Wisconsin Works – or W-2 – after a certain number of violations. “I think one of the biggest issues of agreement throughout our state, is that people are sick of welfare or W-2 fraud,” says GOP state Senator Alberta Darling. “They are sick of paying for it, they are sick of people getting away from it, they are sick of reading about it in the paper.”
The bill would result in denial of benefits for up to six months for a first violation, up to twelve months for a second, and a third would result in loss of benefits. “We’re getting tough on people who deliberately rip off taxpayers, and that sounds great,” says Democrat Jon Erpenbach, who opposes the measure. “This is a bazooka going after a very small problem. We already have laws against welfare fraud.” The bill passed on an 18-15 vote with Democrat Jim Holperin joining Republicans in supporting the measure (SB 426), which now heads to the Assembly.
AUDIO: Bob Hague reports (:55)