– Legislation sponsored by House Appropriations Vice Chairman Rep. George Dunbar (R-Westmoreland) to reenact the elimination of the General Assistance Cash Benefit program, effective July 1, 2019, was advanced by the Pennsylvania House today.
“Every year we put forward a budget allocating Commonwealth funds to support programs that help those who are truly in need from single parents, pregnant women and disabled veterans to the elderly,” said Dunbar. “However, in the face of fraud, abuse and unaccountability – as verified by two Democratic auditor generals– the General Assistance Cash Benefit program was eliminated through Act 80 of 2012
. The Supreme Court later ruled that the manner in which this reform was enacted was unconstitutional. Today, with the passage of House Bill 33
we move again to eliminate cash assistance and free up tax dollars for other spending priorities.”
Watch Rep. Dunbar’s House floor remarks prior to Wednesday’s passage of House Bill 33:
When the Pennsylvania General Assembly eliminated the program the first time, the Commonwealth was spending $150 million annually, and the majority (70%) of individuals receiving cash assistance were single males without dependents.
The Wolf administration unilaterally reopened applications for cash assistance on Aug. 13, 2018. Maximum cash assistance is $205 a month for one person or $316 per month for two people. The governor has requested an additional $50 million to continue the cash assistance program in his latest budget proposal.
“Every dollar we spend on cash assistance will necessarily be taken away from our most vulnerable citizens,” said Dunbar. “For every Pennsylvanian to have the opportunity for a good-paying job or career, we must remove any existing barriers such as the General Assistance Cash Benefit program that proliferate fraud and government dependence, rather than empowering individuals to achieve economic independence.”
House Bill 33 now advances to the Senate. The elimination of cash assistance is not without precedent. A number of other states have ended their state-funded general assistance programs through Legislative measures similar to House Bill 33.
For the latest legislative updates, visit RepDunbar.com
Representative George Dunbar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Ty McCauslin