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LePage: Maine’s safety net should be a helping hand

GovernorPaulLePageAUGUSTA – Republican Gov. Paul R. LePage said Friday in his weekly address that Maine’s social safety net should be a helping hand and not a permanent handout. The governor, who is seeking reelection in 2014, pointed toward his administration’s work improving the fiscal sustainability of Maine’s welfare programs.

“Our goal is to help Mainers successfully and sustainably transition off welfare assistance,” said LePage. “While we have a generous spirit in Maine, we do not have an unlimited ability to pay for welfare.”

LePage said recent data show that the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program caseload has decreased from about 15,000 cases in January 2011 to about 9,000 cases in June of this year.  This  decrease in caseload of 41 percent, said LePage, is attributable to an improving economy and GOP-led reforms that placed lifetime limits on public assistance programs.

“We are experiencing a drop in welfare assistance by promoting job preparation and work,” he said. “Public assistance is no longer a lifetime benefit but an opportunity to become independent after a financial crisis.”

“I believe Mainers can reach economic independence because I’ve done it myself and I’ve seen others do the same.”

Read or listen to the entire address here.

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