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Gov Schwarzenegger Discusses In-Home Supportive Services and CalWORKs Reforms

Governor Schwarzenegger was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

Hello, this is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

Five weeks ago, I addressed a joint session of the legislature.

I laid out the tough cuts necessary to close California’s $26.3 billion deficit.

I also made two things very clear:

One, I won’t raise your taxes to pay for Sacramento’s mistakes.

And two, I won’t cut a dollar from education or health care or state parks without first looking inside government making programs more efficient and rooting out the waste, fraud and abuse of your hard-earned tax dollars.

This week I met with several district attorneys about our In-Home Support Services program.

They told me about Grand Jury investigations detailing all the waste and fraud in this program.

There are people being paid by the state in multiple counties and under multiple identities.

There are even people in jail, who continue to receive payments for performing in-home support services. 

The district attorneys have recommended simple reforms, like fingerprinting and background checks, for recipients and for patients.

These reforms could save the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Also this week, I brought together our state social service leaders to focus on another program we must reform to save taxpayer dollars and help our budget: CalWORKS.

CalWORKS, by the way, is the state’s welfare program and it is intended to give struggling Californians a helping hand, temporarily. 

I remember back in 1996, when President Clinton partnered with a Republican Congress
to enact historic welfare reform.

He said his goal was to make welfare “a second chance, not a way of life…”

Our welfare program is based on joint responsibility. We in government give people the bootstrap but they have to pull themselves up.

The only problem is that right now, nearly 80 percent of California’s recipients are not meeting simple federal work requirements.

But the families still receive the checks and the benefits.

California’s policies are actually encouraging people to stay on welfare.

Our benefits are far more generous than other states.

Let me give you an example: California has 12 percent of the nation’s population. Yet we have 30 percent of the welfare recipients.

For five years I have been pushing to reform this program, to bring our benefits and sanctions more in line with other states.

But the legislators always say, “We’ll fix it later.” Well, “later” is “now.”

We have to solve a $26.3 billion budget deficit, right now.

My CalWORKS reforms would save $753 million in the current fiscal year and $1.5 billion annually in the coming years.

I want you to know that there is no way that I will sign a budget that does not address abuse and does not finally reform the way Sacramento does business.  

I am committed to California and I am committed to accountability in California government.

Thank you for watching and thank you for listening.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am

Written by mark@mlode.com