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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spend It-Don't Save It

    What's the old saying, "If you don't want anybody to know about it, don't put it in writing."
     Apparently someone at the Department of Human Services in Lansing was absent the day that was discussed because he composed the kind of inter-office memo that sends conservatives up the walls.
     Date:  November 13, 2009.
     To: County, District, and Child Welfare Directors
     The subject was spending all the money.
     The memorandum is a classic and Rep. David Agema (R-Really Conservative-West Michigan) went bonkers when he got his meat hooks on it.
     There is a time-honored tradition in the state bureaucracy that if you have not spent all your money by the end of the year, you turn it back into the state coffers.  They call it lapsing.
     The memo writer told all his colleagues, "Do not attempt to save funding."  And in just in case those colleagues missed that line, he drove home the point saying, "it is intended that DHS local offices expend ALL of your allocations…We must be certain we do not lapse funds for this fiscal year."
     To be fair, the welfare department has been hit with one budget cut after another to the point that some office workers, who have to deal with out of work, out of luck, and angry at everyone recipients, actually fear for their lives.
    So to counteract those cuts, the directive to spend every red cent you have, makes some sense, but not to Mr. Agema from Grandville who cuts no slack for the welfare crowd.  You can't live on "that" side of the state and be pro-welfare don't ya know.
    The spend it and don't save it concept merely feeds the popular notion that the welfare folks are wasting your tax dollars instead of skimping to save them.
    It's not the message you want to send nor put in writing in these tough economic times.
    Oh btw, the department told Agema the memo was taken out of context and referred to federal money only.  Ah, that should make taxpayers feel a lot better.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skubick's Blog missed the quotes from the Michigan Department of Human Services that was included in his MIRS article regarding the same topic.

Here are the quotes.

DHS Spokesman Edward WOODS III said the memo was "completely and totally" taken out of context. Michigan receives a certain amount of money to help this client population and if local offices attempt to save the money, as
opposed to spending it on clients in other areas who may need it, suffering Michigan citizens lose the opportunity to become self-sufficient.

"If we don't spend it, the money lapses and the clients aren't being
served," Woods said. "Would it be better to keep these people on the welfare rolls and decrease their chance for self-sufficiency or provide them with this Direct
Support Services money (used for transportation, job training, tutoring and counseling) and get them on the path to self-sufficiency?"

February 22, 2010 at 2:31 PM 

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