Governor Pete Wilson on Welfare Reform
Governor Wilson believes that Welfare should emphasize the values
of work, self sufficiency, and personal responsibility. But when he took
office in 1991, the Governor inherited a welfare system that actually
punished those who chose work over welfare and perpetuated a cycle of
dependency. The costs of the system were also skyrocketing. In 1990, more
than 2 million people were on California's Aid to Families with Dependent
Children (AFDC) rolls, and the caseload was growing at 12 percent a year.
In 1991, California's average AFDC benefit was the second most
generous in the continental United States, and it automatically increased
every year. In fact, while California had only 12 percent of the nation's
population, it has 27% of the nation's welfare costs. At a total cost to
local, state and federal taxpayers of $5.2 billion a year, AFDC in
California was becoming unmanageable. Governor Wilson acted quickly to
control the explosion of welfare costs by removing disincentives to work,
cracking down on fraud, reducing grants by nearly 13 percent, suspending
automatic cost of living increases, and encouraging self-reliance by
emphasizing educaiton and job skills.
*Removing Disincentives to Work.
*Increased the amount of money AFDC recipients can keep from
employment before their grant is reduced.
*Removed limits of how many hours a month parents can work.
*Increased amount of personal savings and automobile equity a
recipient is allowed.
*Provided a total of $230 million to AFDC recipients for child
care -- a 60% increase over previous levels.
*Cracking Down on Fraud.
*Increased funding for welfare fraud investigators by 25%.
*Authored Los Angeles County to being fingerprinting AFDC
applicants to prevent "double-dipping."
*Increased number of AFDC recipients getting job training from
GAIN (the Greater Avenues for Independence)
*Created the Cal-Learn program to reward teen mothers on AFDC for
continuing their education.
*Agenda for the Second Term: Welfare Program Integrity Initiative.
*Would limit AFDC to two years for able-bodied adults.
*Would eliminate grant increases for children born to women on welfare.
*Would require minors with children to live with their parents
(or in an adult-supervised setting in cases of abuse) to be eligible
*If Governor's agenda is approved by the Legislature in the
coming budget year, total welfare savings will reach $6.6 billion.
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