A Voice For Arizona’s Children For More Than 25 Years
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Statement from Dana Wolfe Naimark about HB 2372 – TANF Lifetime Time Limit

February 23, 2017

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“In his state of the state speech and in his budget proposal, Governor Ducey announced that we should reward those who are making an honest effort to earn their way off Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash assistance. In the name of cost-savings, Governor Ducey signed a budget two years ago putting Arizona children behind children in every other state in the nation by cutting the lifetime limit for cash assistance to 12 months. Last month, Ducey said the lifetime limit should go back to 24 months if parents are actively looking for a job and getting their kids to school.

“Unfortunately, the bill pushed by the Governor and passed by House Republicans today does not reflect that. In fact, a parent who is actively looking for a job and getting their kids to school on the day they hit the twelve month lifetime time limit will not have the opportunity for additional months of assistance if they have made a single mistake in the past twelve months. In language presented for the first time today, the bill adds new punishments for families who fall out of compliance – even temporarily — with any of the rules during their first 12 months of benefits.

“These punishments endanger children by wiping out minimal support that keeps families in their homes, food on the table, and shoes on their feet. Seven out of ten participants in TANF cash assistance are children. Arizona reduced TANF benefits more than any other state between 1996 and 2016 –nearly 50%. And Arizona spends less than 2% of our TANF block grant on work activities for parents.

“This bill is not the bridge out of poverty the governor described. Instead, it continues our track record of neglecting the poorest children.

“Representative Weninger, the sponsor of HB 2372, followed Governor Ducey in supporting the harmful 12 month lifetime limit two years ago. That was a mistake that the legislature should fix. But no lawmaker should hide behind a talking point about helping families out of poverty, while voting for a bill that puts children at risk.”

See TANF Snapshot for more information.