California’s Welfare Gaffe: Strip Clubs, Casino ATMs Kept Residents Afloat

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Najlah Feanny/Corbis

Golden State taxpayers: keep your blood pressure under control.

As California digs its way out of a $19.1-billion budget deficit, the government found a new fiscal problem within its welfare program.

Residents in need of assistance were issued state debit cards to access the money they qualified for. The only problem? Thousands of dollars were being extracted using those cards — at casinos and strip clubs.

A Los Angeles Times report shows that governor Arnold Schwarzenegger acted quickly, terminating 200 ATMs at strip clubs and casinos that previously operated as cash pit-stops. The Times report revealed that cash was being withdrawn from gambling outposts at a whopping rate of more than $227,000 per month between October 2009 and May 2010.

As for strip clubs, an earlier Times report drew upon Department of Social Services data. From 2007-2009, more than $12,000 from the state’s Temporary Assistance was extracted at XXX-rated establishments.