Wisconsin residents receiving welfare benefits will now face increased work requirements and tighter restrictions on food
The legislative package passed the Legislature in February under the pretense that the state’s worker shortage necessitated changes to stimulate the workforce as companies struggle to fill openings.
Under the reforms, the required working hours per week increased from 20 to 30 for able-bodied adults and parents of school-aged children on food stamps. Additionally, it prohibits food stamp and other Medicare eligibility for individuals with home assets over $321,000 or personal vehicles over $20,000.
“We want to help those in need move from government dependence to true independence through the dignity of work. We believe welfare should be more like a trampoline and less like a hammock,” Walker said in a statement.
Yet opponents to the bills have been quick to argue that the reforms only further burden both the families of welfare recipients and the taxpayers.
According to state Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, the legislation will cost nearly $80 million once implemented along with additional start-up costs.
“Wisconsin families are working hard every day yet continue living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to make ends meet,” Subeck said. “Instead of helping hardworking families get ahead, Governor Walker is enacting legislation that will only make their lives harder.”
One of the most vocal
The open government watchdog Wisconsin Democracy Campaign denounced the move, accusing the governor of paying back his financial supporters and political allies by signing the reforms into law.
“Walker is in hoc to the Koch Brothers and WMC,” said executive director Matthew Rothschild. “Along with ginning up resentment among his base, Walker, by signing these bills, is making an installment payment on this debt."