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Capitol Roundup: Food Stamp Fraud, Tax Breaks [POLLS]

News that 15 well-paid state employees may have falsely received aid earmarked for low-income residents tops the stories coming out of Hartford.

Outside of the in connection with the Cheshire home invasion sentence, news that officials had launched an investigation into food stamp fraud involving well-paid state employees remains a highly discussed topic even a week after the news sent shock waves.

Andrew McDonald, senior counsel for Gov. Dannel Malloy who is heading up the investigation, told Fox Connecticut's Laurie Perez on Sunday that employees implicated in the fraud may face criminal charges.

Officials said earlier this week that the state had zeroed in on at least 15 state employees who received Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as D-SNAP, benefits during their first batch of review.

Connecticut Post's Ken Dixon reported that the "luckiest" state employees may have been those who stood in line for the benefits but were turned away by workers at the Department of Social Services.

"Maybe the luckiest of state employees were those who tried to apply for D-SNAP benefits, but under focused questioning from DSS screeners, admitted they made too much money and abandoned their attempts to gain the D-SNAP cards and walked out of the offices empty-handed," Dixon said in an article published Sunday. "The screeners, doing their jobs as overworked state employees in stressful conditions, may have saved the jobs of the would-be applicants whom they rejected."

Also making news in Hartford is a proposal by state Comptroller Kevin Lembo to review Connecticut's system of business tax breaks to see if they are adding value to the state economy.

Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, according to the Connecticut Mirror, believes that legislators could reduce the state's sales tax by a percentage or 1.5 percentage points if tax exemptions were eliminated and used to fill the gap.

Some of the distinctions on when exemptions apply can border on being bizarre, such as the exemption given to therapeutic massage services but not on body waxing, facials and other spa services, according to the article.

Though the savings could be substantial, the topic itself also has proved daunting and in the past has gained little traction, Guglielmo told the Connecticut Mirror. Still, Lembo has crafted a letter to Malloy asking for a permanent tax policy review panel to be convened. Malloy apparently hasn't reviewed the proposal yet, the news outlet reported.

Jenna December 14, 2011 at 03:55 PM
If my point came across unclear forgive me. I don't think that anybody is getting rich off the system, I just think that people who don't really need it shouldn't be receiving it. It's a fine line telling someone who financially qualifies for the assistance that they can't have it and I understand it; but like you said a lot of people can just walk down to the corner store with their food stamps and walk out with alcohol and cigarettes. The store takes the food stamps for themselves and the employees walk out with what the person who was given the assistance was actually meant to have. As for cash assistance I understand that there are people who really need it and I don't disagree that they shouldn't have it, but not everyone who is on it really needs it. I work in a business where I see people with these social services cards and it doesn't look like there's anything wrong with them to me. However I don't know their family life so I can't be one to judge, their could be a situation in their home as to why they need it but most of the time it looks like they don't.
Daniel Patti December 14, 2011 at 06:43 PM
If you really need the assistance than I'm all for it. That's what makes America great. However according to a recent news report a state worker who made $124,000 in 2010 qualified for aid because his wife didn't work and he had several dependents (children) . Considering this state employee has great benefits, a salary double the average private sector worker and a pension, this is unacceptable
Alex Tytler December 15, 2011 at 11:19 AM
Assistance is not what makes America great. It has made us weak and unable to compete.
yoda December 15, 2011 at 11:46 AM
YC, DON'T GET UPSET HE IS VERY BLACK AND WHITE HE SEES NO GRAYS. HE'S the crazy uncle that you like to pick on.
yoda December 15, 2011 at 11:47 AM
Believe me, Malloy will go after them, I believe three state troopers too. I know Malloys personality, he won't let this go! For that I respect him.

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