A photo taken this week in Topeka shows Gov. Sam Brownback smiling as he shakes hands with Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, for helping pass a welfare reform bill. Others in the photo are smiling and applauding for the bill that reduces the length of time people can receive cash assistance and tightens work requirements for welfare recipients.
The bill is called HOPE, as in: “We hope you can get a job and stop being a burden to our state! As an added incentive, we’re giving you less time than before to get to work.”
Shannon Cotsoradis, the outgoing executive director of Kansas Action for Children, said more than 900 Kansas children have lost access to cash assistance since the first HOPE Act went into effect in January, limiting lifetime benefits to 36 months. HOPE 2.0, signed Monday, is even tougher, limiting benefits to 24 months. So it’s guaranteed to get even more people off welfare.
Our lawmakers are not heartless. A woman with a baby can get state aid for the first THREE MONTHS of the kid’s life, even if she’s been on the dole for more than 24 months. But that generous extension doesn’t apply if there’s another adult in the household who has exhausted the 24-month lifetime limit.
In the past, those who were happy to cut benefits to poor people with children might dredge up examples of welfare queens or people who abuse the system. Nowadays it’s just that our state is having trouble balancing its budget, even if we have to steal candy – and food – from babies.
Looking for people who abuse the system? How about high paid state employees like KU coaches Bill Self and David Beaty, who are compensated as both salaried employees and as independent contractors via limited liability companies!? Not that they’ve done anything illegal. Under the governor’s 2012 tax reforms, LLCs no longer pay income tax. So they are saving thousands of dollars in taxes that they would have owed before the reforms. Coaches who don’t do this are losing money.