New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn recently called for eliminating the fingerprinting requirement for food stamp applicants. I strongly disagree with this proposal and urge the city to keep the current policy intact. Fingerprinting was put in place to prevent food stamp fraud, not only saving taxpayer money, but ensuring that the limited resources we have are reaching the people that truly need and deserve these benefits.
The Human Resources Administration has noted that fingerprinting prevents roughly 1,900 duplicate applications from being accepted each year, saving taxpayers approximately $5 million annually. In 2007, New York State lifted the requirement of fingerprinting food stamp recipients, leaving the policy in tact only in the city of New York, where 1.8 million people receive food stamps.
In times of fiscal crisis, government must take every step possible to make sure every penny is being spent appropriately. Instead of our government looking to remove the policy for New York City, we should instead be looking to reinstate this policy for the entire state. Government owes it to our taxpayers to ensure that our social service programs are benefiting the neediest New Yorkers, and not wasted by people seeking to defraud the system.