Wisconsin Introduces Work-For-Welfare Bill

Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker proposed to mandate that all food stamps recipients work at least 80 hours per month to benefit from the state assistance program.

The particular proposal is part of an overall reform package called ”Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” which promises to ”expand initiatives enacted into law by Governor Tommy Thomson in 1996,” according to the Office of the Governor.

”There will be some critics out there … who will say somehow this is an attack on the poor. I couldn’t disagree any more,” Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal. ”If you love your neighbor … the best way to help your neighbor is to help them get back up on their feet again and control their own destiny.”

Walker says 7,300 Wisconsin households currently report zero income.

As the law currently stands, able-bodied parents caring for dependent children are not required to work the mandated 80 hours per month that those without dependents are required to.

Since being implemented nine months ago, that law has seen 21,000 FoodShare recipients find work of the 64,000 who lost their benefits.

”Any sanctions for noncompliance would be partial, only affecting the noncompliant adult’s portion of the allotment,” according to a statement released by the governor’s office.

Walker also proposed to implement the same restrictions to people receiving housing vouchers. The act was criticized by Democrats and child advocates who felt the move would do more harm to families than good, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Wisconsin Works for Everyone promises to expand job training programs to unemployed and those underemployed, as well as to the incarcerated and ex-offender populations.

”This set of initiatives is focused on helping those disconnected from employment realize their potential in the workforce,” said Walker. ”We have every intention of leading the nation when it comes to helping people create better lives for themselves and their families through work, just like Governor Thomson.”

He added: ”Looking forward, we will take every opportunity to facilitate our citizens’ success in Wisconsin’s workforce.”

Sources: Wisconsin State JournalChicago TribuneScott Walker Office of the Governor / Photo credit: John Pemble/Flickr