Missouri Gov. Won’t Help His State’s Failing Welfare System

St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ron Reiring.

By Logan Pike and Justin Haskins

According to a recent comprehensive study of state welfare programs, Missouri earned an “F” grade for its dismal welfare policies, finishing dead-last among all states. But despite the wealth of data proving his state’s welfare program is failing, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) vetoed legislation today that would have provided needed reforms, thereby killing his opportunity to help thousands of Missourians move out of poverty into self-sufficiency. It appears Nixon’s devotion to his party is stronger than his commitment to improving welfare.

The Strengthening Missouri Families Act (SMFA) recently passed out of conference committee, gaining the final approval from the state’s House of Representatives and the Senate. The legislation would have implemented immediate work requirements, a cash diversion program, increased sanctions for non-compliance, lowered lifetime limits for cash assistance, and provided a variety of programs that would help impoverished individuals and families stay off of welfare rolls entirely.

If Nixon had signed SMFA into law, the bill’s measures would have helped to thwart welfare dependency and increase self-sufficiency. Authors of The Heartland Institute’s 2015 Welfare Reform Report Card estimate Missouri’s welfare program would have jumped from its current rank of 50th up to 23rd if SMFA’s reforms had been enacted.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that out of 100 full-time working adults, only four live in poverty, and out of 100 part-time working adults, 15 live in poverty. It would seem to make sense then that successful anti-poverty reforms should stress the importance of work. So far, this has not been the case in Missouri, where welfare policies have allowed recipients to receive numerous benefits without having to work or enroll in a qualifying program. READ MORE …

[Originally Published on The Washington Times]

St. Louis, Missouri. Photo by Ron Reiring.