January 21st, 2009 by Kevin
As most everyone knows, Minnesota is facing a huge deficit crisis and it\’s going to be painful for everyone as cuts will be wide and deep. Recently I was talking with a legislator about the cuts that will be needed, and what form the legislation is likely to take. He knows I\’m very fiscally conservative and somewhere to the right of Attila The Hun, but laughed as he decried, \”Kevin the cuts are going to be so big I don\’t think even you would vote for it!\”
So it\’s no exaggeration to say that everyone is going to have to sacrifice this time around and true leadership is going to be necessary. However, as we\’ve seen, our DFL legislators aren\’t willing to make even the most minor and petty of sacrifices. Well, just like nature, politics abhores a vacuum and the GOP Caucus is stepping up to offer ideas.
Minnesota House Republicans today proposed a new round of welfare reform to end Minnesota’s reputation as a “welfare magnet” and help balance state government’s $4.8 billion deficit. Under the proposal, anyone who applies for state welfare benefits within one year of moving to Minnesota would be granted no greater level of benefits than the person would have received in their previous place of residence. New recipients would then remain under the rules of their previous state or nation of residence until their benefits run out. House Republican Minority Leader Marty Seifert, R-Marshall, cited an analysis by the Minnesota Department of Human Services of welfare applications showing that 13.9 percent of applicants moved to Minnesota from another state or nation within 12 months of submitting an application.
The most recent DHS estimates show that welfare benefits granted to new residents cost Minnesota taxpayers at least $15,683,608 per year, in addition to another $16,260,585 in federal costs.
House Republicans also said they await the findings of a Legislative Auditor’s investigation into the use of Minnesota EBT cards in other states. Last August, they uncovered data from the Minnesota Department of Human Services showing that 309,717 EBT transactions took place in states other than Minnesota costing taxpayers $10,226,758.
[Details from a House GOP Press Release]
[Crossposted at True North]