Gregoire Announces $51 Million In Cuts To State Welfare Program - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gregoire Announces $51 Million In Cuts To State Welfare Program

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Gov. Chris Gregoire has ordered $51 million in spending reductions for the current fiscal year for WorkFirst services delivered across five state agencies. The spending adjustment is needed to ensure a balanced budget for the WorkFirst program and protect the safety net for the very lowest income families.

WorkFirst is Washington state's welfare-to-work program, which is based on the belief that everyone with abilities is needed in today's workforce, and those who can work should. Washington initiated the WorkFirst program in August 1997 to help low-income families become self-sufficient by providing training and support services necessary for parents to get a job, keep a job and move up a career ladder.

WorkFirst expenditures, at about $968 million a year, are spread across the five state agencies and more than two dozen distinct services, from cash grants and job placement services to vocational training and emergency vouchers. About $320 million of the WorkFirst budget pays for child care subsidies that help WorkFirst families and low-income working families who are not on welfare.

The number of families on welfare in Washington dropped by 45 percent between 1997 and 2001 when the state's economy was strong. Since the economic recession hit, the caseload has increased by more than 30 percent in the last two years – from 51,106 in July 2008 to 66,634 in June of this year.

"The reductions are the result of increased demand due to the economic recession, coupled with declining resources," said Marty Brown, Director of the Office of Financial Management. "We've identified a shortfall and are moving quickly to fix it. These are painful cuts, but necessary to stay within budget."

The two largest reductions will come from lowering the income eligibility for Working Connections Child Care ($14.8 million) and granting fewer "hardship extensions" to WorkFirst families who reach the program's 60-month time limit ($16.4 million). The income eligibility for child care change will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2010 and the hardship extension change will take place in February 2011.

 Other reductions will include:

  • More of a family's income will be considered in determining eligibility
  • Less funding for job search, job retention, career advancement and other employment services
  • Fewer opportunities for WorkFirst parents to  work in unpaid subsidized jobs  
  • Fewer education and training services   
  • Reduced funding and redesigned job services for WorkFirst families, and reduced job support and emergency support services
  • Reduced  child care support for two-parent families by requiring one parent, instead of both parents, to participate in work activities
  • Reduced short-term funding to help low-income families stay off of welfare

 These spending reductions come at a critical time for the state's welfare reform program, now in its 13th year. Given the difficult economy and continued strong caseload growth, the Governor has challenged the five state agencies that comprise the WorkFirst Subcabinet to "reboot" the program for the future. 

 A major re-examination of the program is now under way, with a strong focus on resource leveraging and innovative, evidence-based best practices that are known to be cost-effective and sustainable. The plan is to have a WorkFirst redesign proposal for consideration by the Governor in early December of this year.

Even further reductions to the program will be necessary should Congress decide to not extend federal TANF Emergency Contingency funding to states beyond Sept. 30, 2010 when it comes back from recess next month. This is because $62 million in continued federal TANF contingency monies for WorkFirst was written into the state budget that was approved earlier this year. 

 

 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Grant Co. Sheriff's Office: At least 3 dead, 8 injured in mass casualty crash south of George

    Thursday, May 25 2017 6:20 PM EDT2017-05-25 22:20:15 GMT

    GEORGE, Wash. - At least three people are dead in a mass casualty crash in Grant County and at least 8 other people are injured, some seriously. The crash happened around 5am Thursday morning at Adams Rd. South and Frenchman Hills Rd. which is just S. of Quincy and W. of Vantage, WA. Adams Road South will be closed at that intersection for most of the day.

    >>

    GEORGE, Wash. - At least three people are dead in a mass casualty crash in Grant County and at least 8 other people are injured, some seriously. The crash happened around 5am Thursday morning at Adams Rd. South and Frenchman Hills Rd. which is just S. of Quincy and W. of Vantage, WA. Adams Road South will be closed at that intersection for most of the day.

    >>
  • PHOTOS: 4.5 mile beer pipeline to deliver 400,000 liters of beer

    PHOTOS: 4.5 mile beer pipeline to deliver 400,000 liters of beer

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:27 PM EDT2017-05-25 18:27:48 GMT

    KHQ.COM - We've heard of oil pipelines... but beer pipelines? Some metal music fans preparing for the "Wacken Open Air Festival," which happens to be the largest metal music festival in the world, are giving us an insiders look at just exactly what a beer pipeline looks like, how it's made and how it works. Festival organizers are installing an underground, 4.3 mile long pipeline to deliver approximately 400,000 liters of beer.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - We've heard of oil pipelines... but beer pipelines? Some metal music fans preparing for the "Wacken Open Air Festival," which happens to be the largest metal music festival in the world, are giving us an insiders look at just exactly what a beer pipeline looks like, how it's made and how it works. Festival organizers are installing an underground, 4.3 mile long pipeline to deliver approximately 400,000 liters of beer.

    >>
  • Wet spring brings black flies out in force in the Inland Northwest

    Wet spring brings black flies out in force in the Inland Northwest

    Thursday, May 25 2017 2:20 AM EDT2017-05-25 06:20:21 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nothing beats being outside in this great weather right now, but this wet spring has brought a lot of pests. We’ve been talking about wasps and ticks, but black flies are coming out in force too. Jenny Zhang says she’s noticed black flies a lot more in her neighborhood. Her 2-year-old son Liam was bitten.  “Actually, when he got bit he thought it was a bumblebee and then he was afraid of them,” she says. The bites 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Nothing beats being outside in this great weather right now, but this wet spring has brought a lot of pests. We’ve been talking about wasps and ticks, but black flies are coming out in force too. Jenny Zhang says she’s noticed black flies a lot more in her neighborhood. Her 2-year-old son Liam was bitten.  “Actually, when he got bit he thought it was a bumblebee and then he was afraid of them,” she says. The bites 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/