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On Friday, the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) praised the Wisconsin Legislature for passage of Senate Joint Resolution 4 (SJR 4) authored by Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos. The resolution passed the Legislature with bipartisan support allowing voters to answer this question on a statewide ballot: “Shall able-bodied, childless adults be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded welfare benefits?”

“The workforce crisis in the Badger State has been driven largely by rapidly expanding welfare programs like food stamps, BadgerCare, and other cash benefits that, for three years, have been disconnected from work,” said Sam Adolphsen, FGA policy director. “Wisconsin has nearly a quarter million open jobs. Employers are desperate for workers, and voters will soon weigh in on whether they prefer able-bodied adults to be working for a paycheck or receiving a welfare check.”

While Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is incredibly low at 3.3 percent, the state’s workforce participation rate has dropped below 65 percent—the lowest in decades, even lower than during the pandemic. FGA’s research shows a strong connection between welfare benefits without work requirements and lower workforce participation rates.

Welfare enrollment, especially among able-bodied adults in Wisconsin, has reached all-time highs. More than 1.6 million people are enrolled in BadgerCare, one out of four people in Wisconsin, and nearly 300,000 of those are able-bodied adults with no kids in the household. These adults can and should be working to fill the 220,000 available jobs.

“The Biden administration and Governor Tony Evers have fought against reforms that would require able-bodied adults on welfare to work, volunteer, or get job training in exchange for their benefits,” said Adolphsen. “We applaud legislative leaders for boldly working to address the worker shortage. Voters will now have the opportunity to tell the nation that Wisconsin expects those who can contribute to give back, be a part of their community, and get on a path to long-term independence.”

Author: Press Release


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