Jim Hodges on Welfare & Poverty
Former Democratic SC Governor
Promote the next generation of welfare reform.
Hodges is a member of the Democratic Governors Association:
Principles of the Democratic Governors Association:
PROMOTING PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH THE NEXT GENERATION OF WELFARE REFORM
Democratic Governors are promoting the next stage of welfare reform: helping families rise above poverty; providing access to the health insurance, transportation and child care that make it possible for single parents with children to go to and stay in work; and focusing on the fathers of children on welfare, to not only make sure they meet their responsibilities to their kids, but to help them find the work necessary to do so.
Source: DGA website, www.DemocraticGovernors.org/ 01-DGA3 on Aug 15, 2001
Maintain federal Social Services Block Grant funding.
Hodges adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueDespite an ongoing need to provide social services to families, the elderly, and the disabled, federal funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has been cut dramatically over the past few years, indicating a weakening of the historic state-federal partnership to serve needy Americans. In 1996, as part of the historic welfare reform agreement, Congress agreed to provide the states $2.38 billion each year for SSBG. Since that time, funding has been chipped away little by little. This year, SSBG is funded at $1.725 billion.
NGAís Position The nationís Governors have consistently supported the broad flexibility of the SSBG and are adamantly opposed to cuts in federal funding for the program. Governors believe that funding for SSBG is among the most valuable federal investment that can be made for the nationís most vulnerable population.
Further cuts will be difficult for state and local governments to absorb and will cause a disruption in the delivery of the most critical human services. Governors believe that funding for SSBG should be restored to $2.38 billion, and transferability should be permanently restored to 10 percent, the levels that were agreed to as part of the 1996 welfare reform law.
In 1996, Governors reluctantly agreed to a slight reduction in funding for SSBG, from $2.8 billion to $2.38 billion, with the understanding that funding would remain at $2.38 billion through fiscal 2002, and then return to $2.8 billion. However, the federal government has consistently broken that promise. The nationís Governors strongly urge Congress and the administration to reject the proposed cuts and to restore funding and flexibility to the program.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA14 on Sep 7, 2001
Maintain flexibility & funding levels for TANF block grants.
Hodges adopted the National Governors Association position paper:
The IssueThe 1996 welfare reform law, including the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, needs to be reauthorized before September 30, 2002.
In 1996, the Governors, Congress, and the administration entered into a historic welfare reform agreement. In exchange for assuming the risk involved with accepting the primary responsibility for transforming the welfare system from one of dependency to self-sufficiency, Governors agreed to guaranteed funding for the life of the TANF block grant along with significant flexibility to administer federal programs. The current NGA policy on welfare reform makes three key points:
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA17 on Sep 21, 2001
- Maintain flexibility. The TANF block grant was created so that states could develop innovative approaches to addressing welfare reform, and states have been successful in tailoring their programs to meet the individual needs of their citizens. This flexibility must be maintained so that states can
continue the progress of welfare reform.
- Maintain investment. States are provided with $16.5 billion each year in federal TANF funds, which together with the required state maintenance-of-effort funds, finance welfare reform. Some will argue that the funding should be cut because of the dramatic drop in caseloads. But TANF is no longer just about cash assistance - states are now serving a much broader population than under the old welfare system, and states are now providing services to families that help them succeed and advance in the workplace, not just cutting a check for cash each month.
- Move toward greater program alignment. The Food Stamp Program is one example of a program that is in great need of reform, and its connection to welfare reform should be discussed in the context of reauthorization. Other related programs that should be considered include child support, child welfare, housing, the Workforce Investment Act and Medicaid.
More federal funding for Low-income energy assistance.
Hodges sponsored the Southern Governors' Association resolution:
Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on Energy Policy 01-SGA12 on Sep 9, 2001
- Whereas, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), created to assist low-income households in meeting their cooling and heating needs, provides less than 20 percent of the Nationís eligible applicants with assistance and is distributed based on a formula that is weighted toward cold weather, with only 2.8 percent in FY95 being used for cooling needs;
- Whereas, the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), a program designed to provide low-income households with energy efficient improvements, is underfunded and provides 10 times more funding to states with more heating assistance needs than states that have more cooling needs;
- Whereas, sixteen southern states account for 43 percent of the low-income households in the United States and the majority of the southern states receive significantly less than the national average in the LIHEAP state gross allotments and WAP funding;
- Resolved, that the Southern Governorsí Association urges Congress and the President to provide in any national energy policy increased funding for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to include a larger proportion of eligible low-income households while equitably addressing both cooling and heating needs.
Supports TANF grants to states.
Hodges signed the Southern Governors' Association resolution:
Source: Resolution of Southern Governor's Assn. on TANF 01-SGA9 on Aug 7, 2001
- Whereas, Congress reformed public assistance in 1996 with the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- Whereas, included in this program were modest supplemental grants for 17 relatively poor or rapidly growing states;
- Whereas, nine of the 17 qualifying states are from the South and receive 78.6% of the funding totaling $251 million;
- Whereas, these grants that help southern states provide important services, such as child care, job training and placement, and transportation to low-income families; and
- Whereas, authorization for these grants is set to expire at the end of the 2001 federal fiscal year; now, therefore, be it
- Resolved, that the southern governors call upon Congress to extend for one year the TANF supplemental grants to the 17 identified states:
- Resolved, that Congress should include in its 2002 TANF reauthorization bill provisions that will continue the supplemental grants for poor and fast growing states and use information from the 2000 census to identify any new states that meet the eligibility criteria; and
- Resolved, that Congress should provide adequate funding if new states are identified as being eligible for the supplemental grants.