The House of Representatives Republican Caucus went on the record with the Speaker of the House, Representative Calvin Say, opposing spending cuts proposed for out State’s Temporary Assistance for Needy families (TANF) block grant.
Under a budget plan by the Democrat Majority, the House Finance Committee, from $22 to $27 million in TANF funding would be directed to a reserve account. “These federal dollars could only be used for cash assistance payments to welfare families,” said Representative Lynn Finnegan. These people want a hand-up not a hand-down,” continued Representative Finnegan
“If the cuts occur, a significant percentage of our TANF block would sit idle and DHS would be forced to halt funding for a wide variety of community-based programs that are successful in reducing or preventing family poverty, connecting parents to employment and providing help for at-risk children and youth,” explained Representative Finnegan.
It is important to understand that Hawaii maintains on of the largest TANF reserves in the nation. This is a sharp contrast to about half of the other States, which keep zero or only negligible amounts of TANF dollars in reserve. These States realize that it is fiscally sound and socially responsible to put the federal money to work right now by supporting programs that help citizens lead better lives.
“In the unlikely event that Hawaii’s TANF reserve needs additional funds at some point, DHS can scale back or cancel its community-based programs with just 30 days notice; TANF receipts do not want to receive welfare they want to be self reliant,” concluded Representative Finnegan.