Welfare-To-Work Initiative Proposed in PA

A longtime advocate of welfare reform, state Rep. Frank Burns, D-Cambria, has signed on as an early supporter of legislation that would create a pilot program to move welfare recipients to full-time jobs in one year.

Burns said he decided to sponsor the “welfare to work” bill because it would establish a public-private partnership designed to wean welfare recipients off the system, by letting them continue to collect benefits while gradually phasing in pay for their full-time work.

During this transition, Burns said, employers would initially pay program participants for 20 hours per week, rising to 30 hours after six months and ending at 40 hours – at which point their cash benefits would be cut off.

“The vast majority of people in my district feel as I do, which is that people who can work should be working, not living off of the system in perpetuity,” Burns said. “I decided to co-sponsor this bill, which is a bipartisan move on my part because it removes the excuse that, ‘If I get a job, I’ll actually lose money because I can make more staying on welfare.’”

Burns said an added bonus of the legislation is that it relies on the private sector, not the government, to supply people with the path necessary to obtain gainful, full-time employment.

“I’ll support any and all good ideas when it comes to welfare reform,” Burns said. “If this one pans out, it’ll be great for employers, welfare recipients, and Pennsylvania taxpayers.”