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Kids Forward Opposes Welfare Proposals

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 31, 2018
CONTACT: Jon Peacock,
jpeacock@kidsforward.net, 608-284-0580 x 307

MADISON, WI – Kids Forward joined many other groups Wednesday in asking state legislators not to vote for the welfare bills that Governor Scott Walker is pushing.

Kids Forward is concerned that these bills will increase the number of Wisconsinites who are hungry, homeless, and uninsured by creating administrative barriers to participating in safety net programs.

“Rather than help people climb out of poverty, these bills will only make it harder for people who are already struggling to overcome barriers to work,” says Ken Taylor, executive director of Kids Forward. “While we share the goals of expanding the Wisconsin workforce and helping more Wisconsinites become self-sufficient, there are much better ways to do that than making changes that adversely affect Wisconsin’s kids, families, and communities.”

Kids Forward recommends a number of specific things the legislature should do to accomplish the shared goal of expanding the Wisconsin workforce:

  • Stop suspending driver’s licenses for low-income people who are unable to pay fines, if those fines are unrelated to driving.
  • Make work pay for childless adults by making them eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Undo the long erosion of funding for the state’s child care subsidy program by immediately increasing its funding and creating more flexibility in the program, so it serves parents with erratic work schedules.
  • Increase the minimum wage.

Jon Peacock, the research director at Kids Forward, notes that these special session bills may only increase the economic disparities in Wisconsin. “Policymakers need to pay close attention to how their proposals could disproportionately impact rural communities, communities of color, and people with disabilities,” he says.

With just a few days’ notice, the Assembly and Senate held a joint hearing today on all ten bills proposed by the Governor. It is likely to be the only hearing before the bills move to the floor of the Senate and Assembly.

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Kids Forward advocates for effective, long-lasting solutions that break down barriers to success for children and families in Wisconsin. Using research and a community-informed approach, Kids Forward works to help every kid, every family, and every community thrive.