By Tori Mason
February 25, 2016
Governor Sam Brownback’s news conference comes just a day after presidential candidate Bernie Sanders criticized the governor, saying Brownback: “beats up on the poor.”
The governor responded with statistics from a report by the Foundation for Government Accountability — which he says show his welfare reform to be successful.
Since reinstating the work requirement in 2013, more than half of those Kansans required to work in order to remain eligible for food stamps were employed within one year.
The work requirement only applies to able-bodied, childless Kansans receiving welfare benefits. Brownback says these reforms have led to more employment and increased incomes.
“The objective here is to help get people out of poverty. We’re saying you can still get the program, but you have to apply for work and take job training if you’re able-bodied without dependents. We’re at 3.9 percent unemployment rate, we have a record number of Kansans working, we’ve got good job growth taking place and opportunities moving forward,” said Governor Brownback.
Sanders isn’t the only one who disapproves of Brownback’s welfare agenda. Kansas Action for Children disagrees with the governor’s assessment — saying a majority of Kansans served by the safety net are children.
President and CEO Shannon Cotsoradis said, “Kansas adults are leaving public assistance programs because they are not able to find enough work and earn too little.”
She says the policy changes do not promote self-sufficiency, but only force some of the state’s poorest Kansans to go hungry.