Hey! O’Malley! I found your budget shortfall!

The Washington Time’s Tony Lobianco reports that an audit found $488 million in welfare payments to 52,000 Marylanders who either didn’t supply Social Security numbers or supplied false Social Security numbers;

The report, completed by the state Office of Legislative Audits, also found the computer software used to check eligibility for the federal food-stamps program and the state cash-assistance program could not check 90 percent of the recipients. The administration paid out $488 million from July 2006 to June 2007.

“This [computer] matching is critical in detecting potential fraud or improper payments,” said state auditor Tom Barnickel.

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Maryland’s Department of Human Resources, which oversees the administration, investigated the 52,000 cases and determined that 36,905 had valid Social Security numbers but had not reported them because of a federal guideline that allows aid recipients 12 months before requiring the number.

Nearly a half billion bucks – didn’t the governor claim that he needed $700 million to balance the budget before he hit taxpayers up for $1.4 billion last month? Seems it would have been a whole lot easier to enforce the laws against welfare fraud than it would have been to raise taxes on the law biding residents who pay their taxes and provide their actual Social Security number when we file our taxes.


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