Heartland Institute Experts Comment on Missouri House Approval of Welfare Reform Bill
The Missouri House of Representatives Wednesday approved Senate Bill 607, a bill requiring the state’s Department of Social Services to verify eligibility for entitlement benefit payments on a regular basis. House and Senate versions of the bill will have to be reconciled before being sent to Gov. Jay Nixon (D) for a signature.
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“Although the bill’s approval is a positive step forward for taxpayers, the Missouri state government should have been doing this a long time ago.
“By regularly checking to ensure recipients of taxpayer money are actually receiving the money, and are eligible to receive that money under the programs’ rules, lawmakers can help reassure taxpayers that their money is not used by individuals cheating the system.
“Going forward, Missouri lawmakers should work to reconcile the bills passed by the House and Senate, keeping in mind that they are sent to Jefferson City to represent the interests of taxpayers, not their individual interests.”
“State welfare programs are plagued with fraud and abuse, jeopardizing the safety nets formed to help the vulnerable among us. Unfortunately, abuse in states’ welfare programs costs taxpayers millions of dollars and robs limited resources from the truly vulnerable who need temporary help. “Missouri lawmakers have a responsibility to ensure taxpayer dollars are being appropriately managed, and it’s encouraging to see Senator David Sater and other Missouri state lawmakers understand that welfare is meant for the truly neediest.
“Enforcing fraud prevention measures and adopting reforms, such as regularly checking income, resources, and assets, will protect taxpayers and maintain that resources are going to those who truly need assistance.”
“Combating fraud is important for all entitlement programs. Overpayments, waste, and fraud affect everyone by placing entitlement systems in jeopardy and forcing higher taxes. Before considering tax increases, program extensions, or bailouts, each state should conduct a full review of its system to identify any problems with fraud, waste, and abuse.
“Transparency is important, and Missouri’s move to regularly double-check welfare eligibility rolls is a strong step towards accountability.”
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