Friday, January 23, 2015

Copycat Drug Testing Approach Proposed For Wisconsin Aid Recipients

Governor Walker copycats drug testing proposal from other states for state aid recipients

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

January 23, 2015

Madison, WI - A copycat approach of drug testing those collecting unemployment benefits, medicaid and FoodShare (Quest Card/food stamps) aid recipients was added by Wisconsin  Governor Scott Walker (R) to the 2015-16 budget proposal. The budget proposal will be released on February 3. Walker's proposal is just a copycat approach used by other states who have wasted taxpayers funding to implement a drug testing program that yield few results.
Governor Walker wants for everyone applying or receiving unemployment insurance benefits and foods stamps to be tested for drugs. Walker's reasoning, because employers require for employees to be drug free.
He also wants to cut off a year in unemployment benefits and funding for programs offering public aid.
In Tennessee, state government spent millions of tax payer dollars for drug testing those enrolled in food stamps and getting state aid, but only resulted with 2.8% who were actually using drugs. Drug testing in Tennessee turned out to be a waste of taxpayer funding for drug testing.
In late August of 2014, the Legislative Physical Bureau reported that revenue collections fell by 2.0% ($281M) during the fiscal year that ended in June. Tax collections fell by 1.0% instead of the projected rise of 1.0% the Walker administration had anticipated. The 2013-2014 revenue shortfall is blamed on Walker's tax breaks for wealthy employers.
Wisconsin is facing a $1.7B projected structural deficit for the 2015-16 budget and ending the fiscal year with $283M deficit on the budget, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
Some states and the Wisconsin GOP controlled legislature attempted to enact drug testing for those seeking state aid, but the federal government halted the GOP drug testing move. Extended unemployment benefits and food stamps are funded by the federal government.
Last June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) told the Georgia Department of Human Services that states can not create eligibility standards for recipients to qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as food stamps) after Governor Nathan Neal (R) signed a law that would be implemented on April 2016 that would require drug testing for recipients. Robin Baily, the USDA administrator wrote, "Requiring SNAP applicants and recipients to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits would constitute and additional condition for eligibility, and therefore, it is not allowable under law."

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