May 03

Good For Taxpayers or Cruel To The Poor? Welfare Reform In Missouri

by Mike Ferguson

(St. Charles, MO) – When is it time to say “you’re on your own”?

It’s a debate you hear about in the halls of Congress, in State Legislatures across America and at the proverbial water cooler in communities everywhere: how much should government pay for those who aren’t earning enough to pay their own bills?

This year, the Missouri Legislature approved some changes to one of those welfare programs. The plan is to reduce the total length of time someone can receive benefits from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Currently, a Missourian can receive TANF benefits for up to five years. The proposal would cut that to three years and nine months (45 months total).MWSnap087

The bill passed both chambers of the Legislature with an overwhelming number of votes, making a veto override likely if Gov. Nixon chooses to reject the bill.*

State Rep. Tracy McCreery (D) is against the plan, saying it’s bad for the poorest Missourians and their children. Former State Rep. Carl Bearden (R) was once the chair of the House Budget Committee and now runs the conservative United For Missouri.

He believes the changes will be good for Missouri – including for those on the welfare rolls now.

The proposal includes requirements that recipients spend some time each week in work-related activities. This could include looking for work, getting an education and volunteering.MWSnap088

On the web:

Rep. Tracy McCreery: www.TracyMcCreery.com

United For Missouri: www.UnitedForMissouri.org

* As of the recording of this program, Gov. Jay Nixon has not taken any action on the changes passed by the Legislature, nor has he announced his plans regarding the bill.

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