Michigan is currently in a lonely group of two states (with Vermont) that dole out unlimited lifetime welfare. That means welfare recipients can receive welfare their whole life and never go off these payments. Thankfully, this will no longer be the case. The Legislature passed a bill that would limit the ability to receive state welfare to 48-months. Governor Rick Snyder (R) has said he supports this legislation and will sign it as soon as it hits his desk. The bill is expected to save taxpayers $77 million.

Michigan has long been one of the biggest welfare states in the country. With over 200,000 welfare recipients, about 2-percent of the total population is on welfare in Michigan. The cost to the state is over $400 million. Almost 13,000 people remain on welfare for long periods of time, maybe the rest of their lives.

As the Bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), put it, welfare has become a “lifestyle” in Michigan and it must return to being a safety-net. The problem is that when people are able to stay on the government’s tab for their whole lives, they become dependent and complacent. There is no motivation to look for work or to achieve better lives. As a spokeswoman for the Governor said, the goal is to “ensure public assistance is a bridge to family independence.”

We are encouraged to see growth in Michigan and a realignment of priorities. This bill will help Michigan taxpayers and will help people refocus on how far these entitlements can go. The measure will give reason for Michigan residents to move forward and not simply rely on handouts.

Keep moving forward with real changes, Wolverine State.


WHAT DO YOU THINK: Should programs be designed to provide safety nets or entitlements?