The main focus of the policy, created by Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and his allies, is to ensure those on assistance are actively searching for work or enrolling in job training. However, there are additional rules in place that critics of the bill fear will only sink the poor deeper into a sub-level socioeconomic status.
Such rules include a $25 daily cash withdrawal limit, which would cause families to make up to a dozen trips to the ATM per month to pay rent or utilities, taking $1 out of their pocket in fees each time. On top of that comes a long list of places at which cash assistance will be banned, including public pools, phone psychics, movie theaters, nail salons, tattoo parlors and psychics.
“I just think we are simply saying to people, ‘If you are asking for assistance in this state, you’re sort of less than other people and we’re going to tell you how and where to spend your money,'” Rep. Carolyn Bridges, a Wichita Democrat, said during the House debate.
The irony is that the state government is dictating where its poorest citizens can spend their money when Kansas itself is in a $280 million deficit. This comes in large part, experts say, due to Brownback’s excessive tax cuts that made small business and partnership profits tax exempt back in 2012.
Because states are not legally allowed to run deficits, Brownback is scrambling to fill this hole via several controversial Band-Aids. This includes reducing contributions to the state’s public employee pension fund over the course of six months as well as pulling $201 million from state programs like the health and environment fund and the state highway fund.
The most recent proposal is to cut funding for public schools and higher education programs by a staggering $44.5 million.
Samuel Dale “Sam” Brownback is the 46th Governor of Kansas. He Assumed office on January 10, 2011. This is his second term as Governor, since he beat his