Well, It’s a Start
Representative Kenneth Carter (D, North Kingstown/Exeter) deserves credit for putting forward one piece of the solution:
“… a humane society is concerned about all its members, including those who must pay the bill for the needier,” he said. “We cannot continue to drain others dry so that individuals on public assistance are able to do nothing for five years but hold out their hand and pick up a check. We are supporting a non-working class of people for too long, and driving many of our taxpayers to the brink.”
Representative Carter’s solution is to put a time limit on public assistance, shorter than the five years now allowed. His legislation, (2008 – H7021), would limit public assistance to 24 months in a continuous five-year period. The initial continuous five-year period would begin on January 1, 2009, for those receiving assistance on that date, or the date that a family unit first becomes eligible for assistance.
We’ll see whither this goes, but even its passage is insufficient. As any public-dime activist in the state will tell you, the cash assistance program doesn’t represent the bulk of social services spending in the state.
Watch for the General Assembly to either let this one die in committee or pass some version of Carter’s bill with a compensatory increase somewhere else on the government hand-out menu.