In quickly scanning the newspapers this morning, I was rather shocked by something concerning something that just lept out of the screen. In reporting what hadn’t been funded in the next NH budget, this factoid just stared back at me (full part of that piece after the jump for context). Concerning a program to get those on welfare back to work was this – just take money sitting in an account and spend it:
…All of which is somewhat ironic, since the Senate leadership made sure the workforce program was included as part of SB 7, a bill designed to tighten eligibility for the food stamp program. It made sense. If you’re going to make it harder to get food stamps, why not make it easier for people who take advantage of the program to find work.
…No one ever said, “If the House won’t pass our food stamp restrictions, they won’t get a workforce development program,” but that was the outcome. The House wanted to use $11.5 million in federal funds for a two-year pilot program estimated to help 600 people.
Did you figure out why this caught my eye? Yeah, $19,166.67 / per person each for 600 people. Seriously – WHO comes up with this idea – and get it into actual legislation????
Didn’t anyone do the math on this? Look, I have no problem in getting people back to the dignity of work rather than the hammock of the dole. However, like the story about Middletown asking how much is too much for Narcan to save repeat overdosers, how much is just out of whack? This just proves that people spend other peoples’ money rather carelessly and especially when it comes to government where often the concentration is on those that are supposed to be “helped” and not the effect on those from whom money (taxes) are demanded. In this case, lawmakers that appear to be entitlted to spend what they want for the purposes they want to then be able to clap their hands (like in the old days of cleaning chalk blackboard erasers) and say “see, look at all of the compassion we have!”.
Naw – it’s all about being seen to be “doing something”.
BTW, this was EXACTLY akin to hearing what our Parks & Recs department was spending on a per head basis for ONE program that I caught them doing a few years ago. Their number came out to be $200/person for a only a few hours – hey, it’s all about the quality of life, right?
The excerpt from that piece:
What they rejected is also a reflection of priorities, philosophy and to some extent ideology. Here are two widely supported initiatives that didn’t make it to the governor’s desk.
Call it Granite Workforce, as Republicans did this session, or call it Gateway to Work, as Gov. Maggie Hassan did last year, but many observers thought some form of workforce development initiative would become reality this year. It didn’t happen, even though the business community was behind the bill, and desperate for workforce improvement.
It seemed like a no-brainer. Take unused federal welfare money (Temporary Aid to Needy Families) sitting in a bank account in Washington, D.C., with New Hampshire’s name on it, and use it to fund time-limited wage subsidies for low-skilled workers along with job training and services such as transportation and day care.
The goal was to use welfare money to get welfare recipients into the workforce.
Hassan proposed the initiative last year, but it got nowhere after four separate appeals to the Legislature’s Fiscal Committee. Many Republicans felt the idea had merit, but that it should go through the Legislative process. (They also probably didn’t want Hassan to get credit for it in the run-up to a Senate bid).
This year, House Republicans wanted the initiative approved as a stand-alone measure, and Rep. Neal Kurk, R-Weare, chair of the House-Senate Conference Committee on the budget, made an impassioned appeal for the program during the committee’s deliberations.
But the Senate contingent, led by Senate President Chuck Morse, R-Salem, would not accede to the House position, and the measure died.
All of which is somewhat ironic, since the Senate leadership made sure the workforce program was included as part of SB 7, a bill designed to tighten eligibility for the food stamp program. It made sense. If you’re going to make it harder to get food stamps, why not make it easier for people who take advantage of the program to find work.
But when SB 7 was retained in a House committee, and essentially killed for this year, the Granite Workforce program died with it.
No one ever said, “If the House won’t pass our food stamp restrictions, they won’t get a workforce development program,” but that was the outcome. The House wanted to use $11.5 million in federal funds for a two-year pilot program estimated to help 600 people.
The stated purpose of the opposition to that idea was that there are already 13 job training programs in New Hampshire, and we don’t need any more until we study the effectiveness of the ones we have and eliminate the ones that don’t work.
(H/T: Union Leader)