One of the most essential principles of a good legislator, governor, or other public official is to be a responsible steward of taxpayer dollars. As we are elected by the people, we must be entrusted to spend the money citizens pay in taxes with care and thoughtful deliberation.
Keeping the state running successfully and efficiently is a complex task, and many competing priorities must be taken into consideration.
To that end, eliminating fraud and misuse of state funds is an important part of upholding our goal to spend taxpayer dollars wisely. That’s why the Ohio House recently passed two bills that establish more transparent guidelines for certain benefit assistance programs.
Last year, the Auditor of State conducted a review of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid assistance and found several inconsistencies.
From cases of deceased persons still receiving benefits to trafficking of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards, these weaknesses were caused by potential fraud and insufficient accountability.
House Bill 119, championed by Representatives Mike Henne and Rob McColley, addresses the upkeep of SNAP and Medicaid.
In order to ensure more accountable reporting and reduce fraud in these programs, the bill requires the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to implement higher quality bookkeeping. The department must perform cross-checks of databases on a quarterly basis and check an expanded list of requirements to determine eligibility of recipients, like state residency and employment status.
The tightening of the administration of these programs will go far to certify that funds are going to the correct recipient and helping people most in need.
The Ohio House also passed House Bill 50, sponsored by Representative Tim Schaffer. This legislation would require the EBT cards as a part of SNAP to include a color photograph of at least one adult in a household on the front.
Law enforcement has discovered that these cards can be trafficked and traded for other goods, often illegal substances. Including a photograph will help safeguard the program and guarantee they can only be used by the proper recipients.
SNAP and Medicaid assistance are needed state programs that help people get back up on their feet during difficult times. If you or a loved one loses their job, these are there in the meantime as a safety net to make sure your family still has food on the table.
But like anything else, whenever fraud occurs in these programs, it is our duty as legislators to make sure that every dollar goes to those who qualify, helping the truly needy.
Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) represents the 91st District, which includes Clinton County.