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EBT Food Stamps as an Economic Development Tool?

I have long said one of the best forms of intelligence for the state and local IT marketplace is local newspapers. They help you understand the commonality of problems faced by state and local governments, public schools and universities. Newspapers also expose you to unique, non-IT-oriented insights not found in the government IT trade press.

For example, a USDA deputy secretary is visiting a farmer's market that has found a unique way to help its sellers do business with those who are using electronic benefit transfer (EBT) food stamps. Normally, only grocers with credit card capabilities can serve this customer base. Farmers' markets are generally cash only.

If you read GovWin's report on waste, fraud and abuse, you know we recommend increased use of electronic transaction mechanisms to verify incidents of services, pre-empt fraud, and provide real-time transactional data for performance management using business intelligence (BI) tools.

If you read GovWin's report on the governors' state of the state addresses, you know governors are keen to capture as much revenue for local businesses as possible. The use of EBT is a good example of how to capture federally collected dollars for a purely local economic interest. It's a niche-y example, for sure, but one that can open our eyes to the secondary economic development potential of EBT. In times like these, no possible business justification is too small to consider.

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