Contact: Charles Siler
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: KANSAS LT. GOV. SHARES POWERFUL STRATEGY TO HELPING THE POOR
WORK REQUIREMENTS FOR WELFARE ARE LIFTING THOUSANDS FROM POVERTY
Thousands of able-bodied adults have been lifted from poverty and are on a path to independence and economic success thanks to work requirements implemented in Kansas in Oct. 2013, and the state’s Lt. Governor will be sharing their story with Ohio’s “Grace Commission” today.
Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, M.D., is sharing results from a first-of-its-kind study, authored by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), which tracked welfare recipients as they transitioned to work. Nearly 13,000 Kansans were freed from food stamps soon after the work requirements and time limits took effect and they began finding work almost immediately. Within 12 months, nearly 60 percent had found employment and their incomes had increased by an average of 127 percent, more than offsetting any loss in benefits.
The Kansas experience turns the traditional notion about welfare on its head, proving that moving people off welfare as quickly as possible is the key to improving their lives.
“I’ve made my life about helping people around the world live better lives, and I’m most proud of the revolutionary transformation we’ve been able to achieve in such a short time in Kansas,” said Colyer.
“Our welfare programs play a vital role in protecting our most vulnerable citizens, and for catching us when we fall, but they become a trap for the able-bodied all too easily. As soon as our work requirements took effect, we watched people return to work where they began improving their lives and making a living for themselves. These people can look at themselves and know they lifted themselves out of poverty; they changed their own lives for the better.”
Ohio’s “Grace Commission” is modeled after President Ronald Reagan’s 1982 Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, which was known as the Grace Commission because it was led by businessman J. Peter Grace. Like the original Grace Commission, Ohio’s is tasked with: finding cost savings and efficiencies that can be achieved with legislation, improving managerial accountability and administrative controls, finding potential short-term managerial improvements, and identifying new areas to be studied for potential cost savings.
“While we’re happy that Ohio’s unemployment is at a 40 year low, there are still far too many people who could work and aren’t working for one reason or another,” said Ohio State Senator Bill Coley.
“We want to continue our efforts to create a positive business climate where people can find work and thus reduce dependency on the government.”
While the Kansas work requirements and time limits proved to be a massive success for the able-bodied poor who were on welfare, it’s also benefited the state. The program’s administrative costs are down, despite the national trend for continually rising costs. Between the state and federal costs, American taxpayers are saving roughly $50 million a year thanks to the work requirements in Kansas alone. Even more, the people freed from welfare are now contributing tens of millions of dollars to the local economy and paying taxes that help fund other critical programs throughout the state.
Ohio and other states should follow in Kansas’ footsteps by implementing these reforms statewide, while also tracking the progress of those who leave welfare.
To see more of the results from Kansas’ work requirements and time limits, you can read FGA’s paper here.