EBT fraud continues to run rampant in Massachusetts, even as elected officials debate ways to raise our taxes to pay for needed services. This has got to stop.

The Boston Herald reviewed some two million EBT expenditures over the past year and found thousands of out-of-state transactions that included withdrawals as far away as Alaska and Las Vegas. The Herald says Massachusetts EBT cards were even used in Hawaii including at a swanky Hawian resort. This is absurd!

Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance rules forbid the use of EBT cards for vacation services but not for hotels. The Herald says an EBT cardholder was actually allowed to purchase a $700 airline ticket from Massachusetts to Hawaii. How is this allowed to continue?

This is not the first time EBT card abuse in Massachusetts has made national news. Republicans fought unsuccessfully to reform the system under former Governor Deval Patrick's Administration. A Herald article from 2013 first brought the magnitude of the problem to light: "Auditor Suzanne Bump uncovered an EBT system rife with fraud and mismanagement, with nearly $2.4 million in benefits paid to more than 1,100 people between six and 27 months after their death."

An Inspector General's report at the time suggested that as much as $25 million may have been paid to ineligible recipients.

Massachusetts taxpayers are being played for fools. The corrupt state government pays some $2 billion in annual benefits to illegal aliens while refusing to acknowledge and eradicate fraud from the EBT system. This is our money and we should demand better.

Not a penny more in new taxes until the Baker Administration and the Massachusetts Legislature can demonstrate greater respect for the money we currently send them.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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