Friday, April 17, 2015
Missouri GOP: We're going to put those welfare bums to work
Our welfare system is now one step closer to its true intent of serving as a temporary program to move Missourians out of poverty and back into the workforce. My colleagues and I in the House sent a bill to the governor’s desk this week would make much-needed reforms to our welfare system and reinvest the savings generated by these changes in incentives such as childcare, job training and transportation services to get people back into the workforce.
The version of the bill we passed in the House a few weeks ago lowered the lifetime benefits for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients to 30 months. In contrast, the Senate version of the plan had lowered the current 60-month limit to 48 months. The compromise version of the bill would lower the limit to 45 months of lifetime benefits. The bill also would add Missouri to the list of 37 other states that require welfare recipients to take immediate steps to seek employment in order to receive benefits
The savings generated from the changes in the bill would then be invested in child care, education, transportation and job training assistance for participants in the TANF program. It is this change that will place a firm emphasis on getting people back to work and out of poverty. With this, we move our welfare system closer to its intended role as temporary assistance that helps people in need to return to self-sufficiency and independence.
Keep in mind that a study done earlier in the year by the Heartland Institute found that Missouri had only a 14 to 16 percent work participation rate for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The participation rate ranked Missouri last in the nation and earned the state a grade of F in the report. The reform bill we approved this week moves us down a path to improve these lackluster numbers.
The bill now moves to the governor’s desk where he will have to decide to sign or veto it. The legislation received 111 votes in the House, which is more than would be needed to override a potential gubernatorial veto.