Program: Family independence program

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$130,039,400

Special Revenue Funds:

$50,210,700

GF/GP:

$189,089,500

Total:

$369,339,600

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Family Independence Program (FIP). FIP provides a monthly cash assistance grant for families. This cash assistance is supposed to cover the costs of personal needs such as school clothing, housing, heat, utilities, and food. The projected monthly caseload for 2003 is 92,100 cases. [14]

Recommended Action:

The state should eliminate this program. Michigan’s civil society — which includes individuals, nonprofits, religious organizations, businesses and fraternal organizations — works to help people in need and will continue to do so.

Ultimately, the goal of future political leaders should be to eliminate this expenditure in favor of a social safety net for the poor that is provided entirely by voluntary associations: charitable groups, religious organizations, neighbors and families. This can be done. Part of the damage inflicted by welfare programs has been to encourage people to wonder how we ever got along without the programs. Consequently, people find it difficult to believe the poor can be helped any other way. This is unfortunate, because today we have more means at hand to help the poor than at any other time in human history. But they can be fully released only if we lower taxes on Michigan citizens commensurately to ensure that families and individuals are in the best position to take care of their own and to donate more to social service charities.

One private group dedicated to providing a private social safety net is "New Focus National," a faith-based training organization that cultivates change in families’ finances and relationships so that they can move from the welfare rolls to self-sufficiency. Organizations such as this exist to serve Michigan citizens, in one form or another, in virtually every community in Michigan.

The greatest need of these families and individuals is jobs. In addition to examining how religious and community groups are already meeting the needs of the poor, the state must also consider how some regulations stifle opportunities for the unemployed, and for low-income workers. Savings: $369,339,600. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal increases the gross appropriation to $391,810,100.

Program: State emergency relief

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$14,033,500

GF/GP:

$27,374,700

Total:

$41,408,200

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the state emergency relief program. The goal of this program is to prevent serious harm to individuals and families by helping them obtain safe, decent and affordable shelter and other essentials when they face an emergency due to circumstances beyond their control. [15]

Recommended Action:

The state should eliminate this program. Michigan’s civil society — which includes individuals, nonprofits, religious organizations, businesses and fraternal organizations — works to help people in need and will continue to do so.

These private human welfare service providers could do a great deal more if government did not: a) crowd them out with programs of its own; b) take from citizens the very money (in taxes) they might otherwise contribute to these organizations; and c) engage in charity that requires nothing of the recipient.

Michigan’s government should step aside and allow charitable organizations to do the work they are most qualified to do. This would not only be of the greatest help to the poor; it also would revitalize community life by giving those more fortunate the opportunity to take personally the task of caring for their less fortunate neighbors.

There are numerous non-profit organizations who can fill this societal role. Many churches take care of such needs in their own areas. Large organizations such as American Red Cross, Catholic Social Services, and Lutheran Social Services, while they may receive a portion of their funding from various government entities, regularly provide emergency relief and could do so without government stipends. One example of a local operation is the Holland Rescue Mission, which provides emergency and long-term assistance in moving clients to lives of responsibility and independence. The Mission offers numerous programs: a men’s emergency shelter, a women/children’s shelter, a children’s ministry, a men’s discipleship program, an industrial training program, a community food bank, a thrift store, a volunteer program, and chapel services. The mission attempts to foster personal responsibility among the poor and homeless. Employed homeless men who stay at the shelter are required to save their money in a custodial account. In the discipleship program, men are encouraged to be responsible for themselves and must report to a mentor. About 60 people reside at the mission full-time to take advantage of its programs. In addition, thousands receive meals and overnight lodgings. Savings: $41,408,200. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal leaves this appropriation unchanged over the previous year’s budget.

Program: Day care services

Appropriation:

Federal Funds:

$298,026,400

GF/GP:

$192,217,600

Total:

$490,244,000

Program Description:

This appropriation funds day care services. The goal of this program is to provide available, affordable and quality child day care to qualifying Michigan residents when a caretaker is unavailable to do so due to "employment, education, and/or health/social condition." [16]

Recommended Action:

This program should be eliminated. Civil society has provided day care from time immemorial. Grandparents, parents, aunts, cousins, neighbors and religious organizations are responsible (and may be most qualified) for this role in civil society. Lawmakers should consider removing the regulatory roadblocks must also be considered that keep low-income families from offering day care in their homes as a means of augmenting their income. Savings: $490,244,000. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal increases the gross appropriation to $517,773,300.