5 Scary Facts about Pennsylvania’s Welfare Spending

BogeymanWelfare spending in Pennsylvania is out of control. The Department of Public Welfare is now the largest department in the state. It will continue to crowd out education, environmental protection and public safety if the status quo continues.

  1. Forty cents of every state tax dollar goes to welfare spending.

  2. Welfare spending grew three times faster than the rest of the state budget since FY 2002-03. Welfare spending is growing faster than overall state spending, Pennsylvania’s economy, and poverty.
  3. The number of Pennsylvanians in poverty increased nearly 50 percent in the last decade. The state’s poverty rate has been climbing since 2000, regardless of economic conditions.
  4. Welfare spending is projected to grow five times faster than revenue for 2011-14. The Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office suggests General Fund revenue growth will average only 1.6 percent annually for 2011-14, while Public Welfare spending is projected to grow 8 percent per year.
  5. In 2001, three Pennsylvanians were working for every individual getting welfare benefits. Today that ratio has dropped to two to one. One out of every five Pennsylvanians is receiving some type of state welfare benefit.

The status quo is not sustainable. It is failing the poor and wages a heavy burden on taxpayers. Principled welfare reforms can reduce spending while protecting benefits for the truly needy and promoting the dignity of work.