Testimony Before the Alabama Fiscal Responsibility and Economic Development Senate Committee

Published March 9, 2016


In 2015, in partnership with Gary MacDougal, a nationally recognized author and expert on welfare reform, The Heartland Institute published volume two of its Welfare Reform Report Card. The report card is an in-depth study that assigns grades to the 50 states and the District of Columbia based on how they implemented the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), which created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. TANF is a block grant program giving states considerable flexibility.

In The Heartland Institute’s 2015 Welfare Reform Report Card, Alabama receives an F grade and ranks 45th for its anti-poverty policies.[1]

While most thoughtful observers agree that cultural and social issues such as teen parenting, drug use, and dropping out of school are crucial parts of the challenge of getting individuals out of poverty, policies that Senate Bill 285 addresses – implementing strict sanctions for recipients who are non-compliant with work requirements and lowering lifetime limits on eligibility – can make a big difference and are extremely important to moving Alabama welfare recipients from dependency to self-sufficiency.

[1] Diane Bast, Matthew Glans, Gary MacDougal, and Logan Pike, 2015 Welfare Reform Report Card, The Heartland 1 Institute, March 2015.