Monday, June 3, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on Welfare Reform

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) recently released the following statement regarding a welfare reform bill that Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) plans to file in the coming months:

“Last year the Senate put important welfare reforms into the state budget, and this year we failed to build on those reforms in last week’s budget debate.  Fortunately many of the important reforms remain alive in the House version of the Fiscal Year 2014 state budget. Senate President Murray has identified even more areas of the system that need reform and we welcome her to our ongoing efforts to bringing integrity to these public assistance programs.

While we await a promised reform bill and the opportunity to engage in its development there are things that are on the table now that should be acted upon by the joint conference committee.  Those measures would provide some of the necessary reforms needed to protect the precious public dollars the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is charged to administer, and while DTA has taken significant strides to protect those public dollars, the legislature must act decisively to ensure there is accountability and transparency.

Action must be taken as soon as possible to infuse integrity in a deeply flawed welfare system.  The legislature can make significant progress with that goal in mind immediately by passing these safeguards that would ensure only those most deserving with the public assistance they need.  There is absolutely no reason to prolong these commonsense measures any further.”