The state of Iowa’s budget has skyrocketed in the last decade. Drew Klein, state director of Americans for Prosperity-Iowa, said spending has to be a priority for the Iowa legislature in 2019.
“Spending is an area that becomes a little bit complicated for politicians to deal with,” Klein said. “It sounds great in practice, but as soon as they start naming a program, the constituency that benefits from that spending pops up immediately. We have some opportunities to make real gains on the spending front that don’t necessarily involve completely dissolving programs.”
One way to reduce spending is to encourage people receiving government assistance to work if they can.
“A number of states look at work requirements,” Klein said.
“The best anti-poverty program in existence is still a job. Right now the welfare program has some perverse incentives.”
“If you’re receiving benefits as a single mom who can’t quite make full-time hours work, we need to find a way to make sure that mom can find a part-time job without losing all of her benefits right away. The goal then is to gradually work them back to full self-sufficiency — not just because it saves us money, but because dignity comes with being self-sufficient as well.”
Iowa currently has more jobs available than people looking for work. Making sure Iowans receiving benefits don’t have more reason to not work than to work would help curb that conflict.
Klein also suggested divorced dads who are not current on child support shouldn’t receive any state benefits.
“If you’re not going out working and providing, don’t expect the taxpayers to pick up your bill for you either,” Klein said. “Why we’ve allowed that to be a problem is beyond me.”