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New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung (Newspaper) - January 13, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas 6A1 Friday Jan State Comptroller says its time to reform welfare in Texas From staff reports AUSTIN Its time to reform wel fares checkbook and welfares rule book in State Comptroller John Sharp said today as ho released a pack age of wideranging recommendations for overhauling the Texas welfare sys tem through a series of innovative pro grams and pilot projects designed to help needy Texans become selfsuffi cient and reduce the cost of providing those services More often than not welfare is nei ther well1 nor Sharp said at a briefing for State Capitol reporters The report was requested by Lieu tenant Governor Bob Bullock last April and is entitled A Partnership for Inde It contains nearly 100 detailed pro posals including a 24month welfare limit improved access to job training and child care a requirement that mothers on public assistance who choose to have additional children identify the father if they intend to col lect welfare for that child and imple mentation of automated fingerprint imaging similar to that soon to be required to get a Texas drivers license Other proposals contained in the report include cutting rules and regu lations that discourage marriage for lowincome couples strengthening child support enforcement efforts to hefp families free themselves from public assistance and establishing a Work First program to move AFDC recipients into paying jobs The difference between this reform package and any others you may have heard Sharp noted is that this is the only one put down on paper this one is complete and this one more than pays for itself Its fine to talk aUout the need for reform but unless you can find the money to pay for it its not reform its just talk In the end true welfare reform must address the rules that ients and the expected to live by Thats why our recommendations will streamline the welfare bureaucra cy and save Texans more than 100 after paying for the reforms we propose But our recommendations will do something else too If enacted they will require welfare recipients to live by the same rules everyone else does to make smart decisions about their daily like the rest of us to live with the consequences of those Toward that end Sharp said the report contains a Bill of Responsibil in which the responsibility of state government to provide transi tional help is matched by certain responsibilities among those who ben efit from such help Every recommendation in this report is framed by an implicit agree ment between those who receive pub lic assistance and those who pay for Sharp said Our Bill of Responsibilities clear ly defines whats expected from every one involved including a fair effi cient welfare system from the state and a commitment by recipients to take action so that welfare assistance will be transitional and not a way of life Our proposed reforms will not only help disadvantaged Texans fully par ticipate in the states economic growth but the recommendations could also save taxpayers nearly million during the next twoyear budget cycle and as much as million by the turn of the century This report also tries to define the reality of welfare in Texas For exam ple in 1995 the typical Texas wel fare family which consists of a single parent with two children will receive benefits worth per month in family cash assistance in Med icaid services and in food The report describes the average welfare recipient as a single 30year old female with less than 12 years of education no current employment and no additional sources of income The typical welfare family includes two children one of whom is of preschool age About 60 percent of Texas welfare recipients have been receiving benefits for one year or less during their latest spell on assistance When the full length of their assistance is tallied about half of Texas Aid to Families with Dependent Children AFDC caretakers receive benefits for two years or less The report also notes that poverty is more pervasive in Texas than the as a whole In 1993 million than 17 percent of the states popula below the poverty line of for a family of Yet in Texas about half of all poor families have two parents present By A PARTNERSHIP for INDEPENDENCE Public Assistance Reform Options Over the past decade the growth in Texans receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children has outstripped both the states and the nations general population growth as well as the number of people on AFDC nationwide AFDC Recipients vs Population Growth Growth index 250 H 150 100 Texas AFDC recipients Texas population AFDC recipients population SOURCES A PutnwtMp tor by John Sharp Texas Comptroller ol Public Accounts Bureau of the Census Texas Department ol Human Services and Department ol Health and Human Services Poverty Is more pervasive In Texas than In the while the states public assistance programs offer some of the lowest benefits In the nation Value of Monthly Benefits for a typical Texas AFDC Federal poverty Medlcald Food Stamps AFDC Fiscal 1995 A single female careglver and two children SOURCES A Partnership lor Independence by John Sharp Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts Texas Department ol Human Services and Legislative Budget Board ties on welfare leave the rolls behind for good and Cutting the burcnucracy while reduc ing fraud and duplication of benefits improving service and saving money As always we acknowledge that government cant solve every prob lem and that even the most successful public programs cant substitute for the nurturing influence of a stable fam Sharp said But these proposals will save mon ey and make Texas a national leader on welfare reform ly A SPECIAL JOIN NOW regular 1 month membership offer good thru Mar 95 AEROBIC CLASSES OR EQUIPMENT WORKOUT THE SUNROOM FITNESS and TANNING CENTER 1175 FM 2673 Canyon Lake Plaza in Saltier 9072200 federal and state requirement the bulk of these families are excluded from receiving AFDC In contrast only about 35 percent of the poor families in the are headed by both parents In addition about twothirds of the adults in Texas poor families are employed compared to fewer than half those in poor families nationwide In addition the report recommends granting communities more local con trol over job training and work force development programs increasing public awareness of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit for working fami lies providing onetime emergency cash payments to qualified recipients to reduce ongoing dependence on AFDC and transferring Texans with disabili ties who now receive AFDC to feder al Supplemental Security Income SSI or Social Security Disability Insurance SSDI programs both of which pay considerably more than AFDC and provide job programs and other support services unavailable to AFDC recipi ents Sharp said that each proposal in A Partnership for Independence is guid ed by at least one of five goals Enforcing personal responsibility and preserving the family Diverting Texans from welfare Keeping Texans from returning to public assistance once theyve achieved independence Helping those Texans with disabili HEY Teen Dance sponsored by KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS Council 111 Landa Street 7llPtn Doors open Lock in Dance Admission r Grades 58 only Crossr DANCE DATE Jan 13 The Beit Pizza In HUNTER JUNCTION 1608 Hunter Rd in Gruene 6294900 STORE WIDE SALE 50 off all Christmas Mdse 40 off Columbia Sportswear jackets parkas sweaters flannel shirts 40 off all sweatshirts all longsleeve shirts 25 off regular price of everything else New Location Soon Open Daily 106 LOWEST PRICES OF THE SEASON REASONS TO BUY DURING LACKS GREATEST MATTRESS SALE 2 Meeting at Memorial Elementary 1900 8 Walnut Church Office 6204333 David McKain Pastor AM Sunday School AM Morning Wonhlp It The Fruit of the Spirit operating In your life Please Join ui Sunday ai we find out how t can and what a difference It would make KViRYQNSWlLGQMti Lowest Prices of the Below everyday Sale 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