Given an out, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration is too wrong-headed to take it.
Unless the federal government intercedes, which it should, the reprehensible $25 limit on ATM withdrawals for welfare recipients will take effect in a matter of months.
The Legislature passed the controversial limit earlier this year, along with other harsh restrictions on Kansans who receive federal cash assistance channeled through the state. But after concerns arose about potentially violating federal rules, the Legislature acted to give the administration discretion on what the ATM limit should be.
For now, officials said last week, they are sticking with the $25 limit.
That would force welfare recipients to make multiple trips to an ATM machine to acquire enough cash for rent and other needs. The state will assess a $1 fee for each transaction, and that is apart from the withdrawal fees banks charge, usually $1.50 to $2.50 a transaction.
Moreover, most ATM’s don’t stock $5 bills, so the withdrawal limit is effectively $20.
Under a typical scenario, including a $1.50-a-transaction bank charge, a welfare recipient would pay $12.50 in fees to withdraw $100. That’s a severe penalty for the state’s poorest citizens.
Brownback’s administration should have seized the Legislature’s offer to craft a more realistic requirement. But a spokeswoman for the Kansas Department for Children and Families said the administration would only change the limit with “guidance” from the federal government.
By all means, Washington, send some guidance to Topeka. And hurry.