LePage admin skims welfare dollars as extreme child poverty surges
Bangor Daily News columnist David Farmer is on a roll. After exposing a new attack on Maine’s human rights laws protecting gay, lesbian and transgender Mainers last week, this week he laid bare just how badly Governor Paul LePage and his administration are failing poor children through cuts to public assistance. The state has now amassed a $110 million surplus in federal funds that should have been spent helping families climb out of poverty.
“For the past four years, they’ve been skimming dollars meant to support low-income families who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and allowed this huge surplus to develop.
They’ve also kicked thousands of people off of food assistance, maintained a steady attack on General Assistance, and undermined successful programs that provide training and education for TANF parents so that they have the skills to re-enter the workforce.”
Farmer notes that these cuts and this withholding of funds has occurred while extreme child poverty is skyrocketing.
“Between 2010 and 2014, [Maine children in extreme poverty] increased from 17,000 to 23,000, with a one-year dip in 2013.
A family of four living at or below the poverty level has an annual income of about $24,000 or less. For extreme poverty, the family’s annual income would be half that. Going by the data, 23,000 kids are living in families who make $1,000 a month or less to support a family of four.”
Photo via Andi Parkinson.
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