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Post by T on Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:00 am

1. While welfare is often portrayed as a giant rolling snowball in Maine, the program that drew the most legislative attention in the last session is actually a shadow of what it was 20 years ago.

2. A tiny fraction of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families money distributed in the state was spent outside Maine, most of it in New Hampshire, which makes sense.

3. Maine has collected way more fraud reimbursement money from big providers, mainly drug companies, than it has from individuals.

4. Nothing on the electronic benefits transfer card or in a brochure given to recipients said cash should not be spent on alcohol, tobacco or lottery tickets. The brochure said the cash benefit TANF money on the card could be used to buy "anything".

5. The governor figured out that he could require photo IDs on EBT cards without the Legislature's approval.

6. Americans everywhere feel their state is too generous and has become a magnet for the undeserving poor.

7. The conservative Cato Institute last year determined that Maine was less generous than 41 other states. Massachusetts, New York and practically every other state in the Northeast offers a more generous package of benefits to the poor.

8. The only clear and lasting welfare reform actually occurred when a Democratic president teamed up with a Republican Congress to "end welfare as we know it".

9. In 1996, Democrat Bill Clinton worked with Congress to pass the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act."

10. In 1992, 67,000 Mainers received welfare (TANF) benefits. By 1998, that had dropped to 38,000 recipients in Maine.

11. Since 2009, we have leveled off at about 22,000 TANF recipients, and that's a 66 percent decrease since 1992.

12. Whatever happened in this legislative session, it wasn't welfare reform.

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