Social Programs Could Get Axed
By Pamela M. Prah, Staff Writer
BUDGET CUTS: Programs that serve people who are poor, mentally ill or disabled all are on the chopping block in several states, including Washington State . A new round of budget cuts in Iowa might prompt the state to lay off 136 workers at mental health institutions. Meanwhile in Massachusetts , Governor Deval Patrick's administration aims to reduce programs that serve the elderly and developmentally disabled by $15 million. Deep cuts in social programs are included in California Governor Jerry Brown's budget, including $1.5-billion in a welfare-to-work program. And Michigan is eyeing tighter welfare rules as a way to save money.
UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: States will soon have to start paying interest on the $40 billion they borrowed from the federal government to keep unemployment insurance checks in the mail, reports ProPublica . The amounts range from the $300 million that California owes to Kansas's $6 million. Federal stimulus money provided interest-free loans to state unemployment insurance trust funds, but that help ran out in December. States will have to pay back the interest beginning in September 2011, says a position paper from the National Governors Association .
POVERTY: A new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concludes that a combination of existing safety-net programs and temporary expansions in them enacted in 2009 all but prevented a rise in the poverty rate that year. Meanwhile, the U.S. Census Bureau redefined what is considered poor in America by releasing several alternative measurements of poverty, fundamentally revising a one-size-fits-all formula developed in the 1960s by a civil servant, The Washington Post reported.