Florida’s Governer Wastes Money On Drug Tests For Welfare Receipients

Florida Gov. Rick Scott unfairly assumed that people who use welfare are on drugs more than the general population. After requiring all applicants for temporary cash assistance to pass a drug test he was proven wrong.

Ninety-eight percent passed. And the process will cost the state $178 million.

The Tampa Tribune reports that the Department of Children and Families says about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test and another 2 percent are not completing the application process for unspecified reasons.

Here’s the Tribune’s assessment of how much the state will pay:

Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.

That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month’s worth of rejected applicants.

Net savings to the state: $3,400 to $5,000 annually on one month’s worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800 to $60,000 for a program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.

Should other states follow suit in drug-testing welfare recipients? Or should Florida cancel the tests altogether?

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