After the Governor of Kansas Said No, Food Stamp Recipients Won’t Have to Go Through a Work Training Program!

Gov. Laura Kelly vetoed a measure that would have made the voluntary programme mandatory for food stamp recipients.

Last month’s Republican-led effort failed to gain a supermajority in the House and Kelly rejected it on Friday.

Everyone in Kansas feels the pandemic-induced inflation at the pump and the grocery store, Kelly said. “Food is one of the major drivers of overall inflation.

“With rising costs, we should help individuals afford the basics. This bill would unfairly punish nearly 30,000 hardworking Kansans, especially those raising families and children.”

GOP leader expected veto

“The Governor has made it apparent that Kansas welfare is not about helping people but keeping them down “Rep. Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe, said.

“Her veto exposes her rhetoric and the falsehood that she intends to alleviate poverty. And the Governor no longer cares about helping those in need find work.”

Rep. Dan Hawkins, R-Wichita, predicted a veto in a previous newsletter.

He claimed it “runs against her favoured governing philosophy of handing out freebies”.

Kelly is “using welfare benefits to curry votes rather than help get Kansans back to work,” said Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover. He committed to overriding the veto.

The Senate overrode the veto with a 28-11 vote, but the House only got a two-thirds majority with a 70-46 vote.

Masterson accused Kelly of waging a “work war”

“It is difficult to imagine the governor vetoing a bill targeted at getting able-bodied folks back into the labour or on a path out of poverty, towards self-sufficiency and personal wealth,” he said.

But Kansas has record-low unemployment. Were every able-bodied adult single or unemployed to find work, the state would still have tens of thousands of vacant positions?

GOP bill aimed to boost jobs

The bill would have added a new requirement to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Unemployed able-bodied people without dependents must finish an employment and training programme.

The bill’s rationale was based on both workforce shortages and Republican opposition to assistance programmes. For those who work less than 30 hours a week, Democrats claim it means they lose their food stamps.

“The state would offer opportunities instead of just welfare,” Hawkins remarked. “Job training would assist these people to obtain new skills and break the poverty cycle.

Work Training Program

“Many jobs are vacant around the state, just waiting for skilled applicants. This bill can help.”

R-Fort Leavenworth Rep. Pat Proctor said it would assist “lift themselves and their families out of bondage, out of generational poverty.”

But Republicans seemed to have mixed views about how such a scheme would work. Some argued that most beneficiaries would use the job training programme to obtain new employment.

“The goal is to get folks back to work,” said Sen. Beverly Gossage, R-Eudora.

Democrats oppose expanding government

Others said few would comply, losing benefits and receiving no training.

“We believe folks will return to work for 30 hours rather than attend class,” stated Rep. Sean Tarwater (R-Stilwell).

Officials predicted the latter, according to a budget note. A required programme would have a participation percentage of around 9.3% based on historical data.

The low participation percentage also reduces the program’s cost.

This program’s high expense drew the attention of Democrats. The annual cost of employing new employees was estimated at $2.7 million.

Rep. Jason Probst, D-Hutchinson, said the bill is bad policy because it “unnecessarily” expands government “to be rude to poor people.”

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“We’re going to spend state money, pay over 30 people to administer and grow this programme, to pick who gets federal money that’s been allocated to us,” he said.

‘Shortage of workers’

During committee hearings, the bill’s single supporter was a former Maine official who now works for a Florida group that fought for election security laws in Kansas.

Sam Adolphsen of Opportunity Solutions Project says Kansas has a manpower shortage concern.

In November, the BLS reported 95,000 available jobs statewide.

According to him, there are 40,000-50,000 able-bodied persons on food stamps in Kansas.

Monthly, almost 14,000 able-bodied people without dependents receive the SNAP.

The Kansas Chamber of Commerce reports that work quality is the top business priority.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.5 per cent, tying the previous month’s record low. The state has roughly 37,000 jobless.

Early retirement, child care, and low pay

Early retirements, limited child care options, and low earnings have been blamed previously by labour economists.

The KDOL release supports worker wages.

According to KDOL labour economist Nathan Kessler, hourly wages in Kansas increased 6.6% in March. “However, due to persistent inflation, Kansas actual hourly earnings fell 1.8% from March 2021.”