Printer Friendly

PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS UNVEILS LEGISLATION PROPOSING SWEEPING REFORMS IN WELFARE PROGRAMS THAT COULD SAVE NEARLY $1 BILLION

PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS UNVEILS LEGISLATION PROPOSING SWEEPING REFORMS IN WELFARE PROGRAMS THAT COULD SAVE NEARLY $1 BILLION
 HARRISBURG, Pa., March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Matthew J. Ryan (R-Delaware), joined by the House Republican Caucus and a Harrisburg community leader, today unveiled a six-bill legislative package


proposing sweeping reforms in Pennsylvania's welfare programs that could save the state and federal government nearly $1 billion.
 "The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has the financial ability to care for our most needy citizens. However, we must realize that welfare benefits are only one of the many functions which government is called upon to perform. In an era in which the governor proposed freezing aid to our school districts, cutting funds for higher education, substantially reducing programs for our number one industry, agriculture, and curtailing our economic development/job creation efforts, we need to acknowledge that all programs must be modified to achieve cost savings," Ryan said at a press conference.
 "With nearly 180,000 individuals receiving general assistance benefits and another 590,000 persons in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, welfare has become the largest single ticket item in the Commonwealth's budget. This fiscal year (1991-92) alone, the state allocated $9.6 billion for the program which consumes 48 percent of overall dollars in the General Fund budget. Yet Gov. Casey has proposed an increase of $250 million for fiscal year 1992-93.
 "Rather than following the lead of Gov. Casey, who has transformed government from one which seeks to move the state forward into one which instead provides increasing emphasis on subsidizing dependency, the House Republican Caucus will work toward refocusing the concept of public assistance programs by introducing a six-bill package which is based on a foundation of reciprocal responsibility between the recipient and society and emphasizes the importance of the family in breaking the welfare cycle," he said.
 Also joining Ryan was the Rev. Bruce Smith, pastor of the Christian Fellowship Church of Harrisburg, who endorsed the proposal.
 "The goal of the welfare system remains intact, but the methods of reaching that goal must change. Instead of trapping people within the system, this proposal offers incentives out of the system and encourages people to be more productive. Similar to the United Negro College Fund slogan, instead of giving handouts, we're now going to give a hand," Smith said.
 Ryan said the goals of the legislation are to ensure that the welfare system is able to provide assistance for the truly needy by eliminating fraud and abuse, to provide incentives to break the cycle of dependency and to eliminate areas which unnecessarily increase costs. The legislation would:
 -- offer a newborn's mother and natural father the opportunity to sign an affidavit asserting paternity and outline the parental duties and parental rights in signing such a statement; an estimated minimum savings of $10.6 million in state and $11.5 million in federal funds, sponsored by Rep. George Kenney (R-Philadelphia);
 -- allow a family receiving Aid For Dependent Children (AFDC) to earn income for additional newborn children, but no additional government assistance would be provided; estimated savings of $5.6 million in state and $7.3 million in federal monies, sponsored by Rep. Paul Clymer (R-Bucks);
 -- require AFDC recipients or dependents to attend school as a prerequisite for continued eligibility, with exceptions made for school- age mothers and those with unavailable daycare; saving $437,000 in state and $575,000 in federal funds when fully implemented, sponsored by Rep. Joseph R. Pitts (R-Chester);
 -- restrict the maximum aid payments under both AFDC and general assistance for persons who have resided in Pennsylvania for less than one year to either: (1) the maximum aid payment recipients would have received from their state of prior residence or, (2) the maximum aid payment available to Pennsylvanian recipients, whichever is less; savings of at least $690,000 with a potential for much greater savings, sponsored by Rep. Leona Telek (R-Cambria/Somerset);
 -- eliminate assistance to able-bodied "transitionally needy" persons between the ages of 18 and 45 and expand the "chronically needy" category to include persons, previously employed full-time, who have exhausted unemployment compensation benefits; savings of $179.4 million in cash grant and medical assistance costs, sponsored by Rep. Robert J. Flick (R-Chester);
 -- eliminate all medical assistance benefits not mandated by the federal government; savings of approximately $326 million in state and $406 million in federal funds, sponsored by Ryan.
 Ryan also used the opportunity to formally announce creation of the House Republican Policy Committee Welfare Reform Task Force, headed by Flick. The task force is examining numerous proposals adopted in other states that enhance work incentives, increase educational opportunities and demand greater family responsibility. The panel intends to conduct public hearings throughout the state to receive citizen input and suggestions.
 "We are focusing on removing the disincentives in the welfare system. If people want to work and develop family ties, we want to encourage them to do so. We want to create incentives to get people off, rather than keep them on, welfare. In the process we will realize cost savings and also help these individuals," Flick said.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/25/92
 /CONTACT: Bill Williams of the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus, 717-787-3993/ CO: Pennsylvania House of Representatives ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CC -- PH024 -- 1555 03/25/92 13:58 EST
COPYRIGHT 1992 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1992
Words:885
Previous Article:1,333,000 GIBRALTAR PACKAGING GROUP SHARES OFFERED AT $10 PER SHARE
Next Article:TOURISM DROP HITS EVERY FLORIDIAN IN POCKETBOOK


Related Articles
PENNSYLVANIA HOUSE REPUBLICANS PROPOSE TAX RELIEF PLAN
HOUSE REPUBLICAN CHARGES DEMOCRATS WITH ELECTION-YEAR DEMAGOGUERY
STATE REP. PITTS POINTS OUT POLICY DIFFERENCES ON BUDGET
Federal welfare reform debate begins.
Banks cries foul over retroactive House cuts; says plan would endanger public safety.
Big decisions, weighty issues confront Congress on return.
Senate approves welfare reform heavy on grants to states.
PENNSYLVANIA GOV. RIDGE CALLS FOR 'COMMON SENSE' WELFARE REFORM; RECORD INVESTMENTS IN JOB TRAINING, CHILD CARE
Changing the face of welfare.
PA Governor Rendell Calls for an End to Impasse in Property Tax Relief Debate.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters