Drug Test for Welfare Recipients Fails to Save Money; Anyone Surprised?
Making the state's poorest residents piss in a cup before qualifying to receive welfare benefits was going to save Florida up to $77 million, Rick Scott said when he was campaigning for governor. The goal of the drug tests was "to make sure we don't waste taxpayers' money," Gov. Voldemort added when he signed the bill last May.
Well, damn. None of that happened. According to state documents the ACLU of Florida provided to the New York Times, the tests actually cost the state $45,780. Plus, they didn't reduce the welfare rolls. From the Times:
An internal document about Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF,
caseloads stated that the drug testing policy, at least from July through September, did not lead to fewer cases.
"We saw no dampening effect on the caseload," the document said.
To be fair, the drug testing requirement was in effect for only four months last year before the ACLU sued, alleging that the law was unconstitutional, and a federal judge issued a temporary injunction stopping the nonsense.
But the numbers from that short test period are stark. Only 2.6 percent of welfare applicants failed the test, or 108 people out of 4,086. Because the state had to reimburse the people who passed the $30 test, taxpayers ended up in the hole.
And most of those people who failed had -- shocker! -- weed in their system. Yeah, the drug that is legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia, the drug that can stay in one's system for weeks after smoking -- that's the one that kept people from getting money to buy diapers for their kids.
So, let's review. It costs more to test welfare applicants for drugs than to just give them money to live. The small number of people who are doing drugs are mostly consuming a substance that's legal elsewhere in the country. And now, we've taken money away from their kids. Sounds smart, doesn't it?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.
- Shots Fired Outside Club BAM Leaves Man Dead
- What's Open and Closed in Broward on Thanksgiving Day 2015
- Activists to Protest at Home of Monkey Importer UPDATED