Testimony : Maintaining Asset Tests for TANF


Testimony in Opposition to LD 945: “An Act to Allow Maine Families to Increase Their Savings by Removing Asset Limits for Eligibility for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”

Senator Baldacci, Representative Meyer, and the distinguished members of the Committee on Health and Human Services, my name is Nick Murray and I serve as director of policy for Maine Policy Institute. We are a free market think tank, a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that advocates for individual liberty and economic freedom in Maine. Thank you for the opportunity to testify on LD 945.

This bill is marketed as a way for families to “increase their savings” by allowing anyone to access TANF, a welfare program designed for the most needy. In reality, it would distort the program’s intent by reckless expanding it beyond the original intent.

LD 945 is an insult to those who actually need state assistance to get by. By sponsoring this bill and titling it in this way, the sponsor has made her intent clear: not to free Mainers from the dependence that subsisting on TANF may engender, but the exact opposite. 

Passage of LD 945 would signal an era where public benefits are no longer a temporary measure used to help our neighbors get back on their feet, but a way for politicians to virtue-signal by treating the majority of their constituents as perpetually poor.

By claiming that obliterating means testing TANF will increase the savings of the Mainers who use it blatantly ignores those who will be forced to fund it. Have we forgotten about the Mainers who pay taxes? Their savings will not increase. Inflation and our state’s crippling taxation regime will continue to eat away at their hard-earned savings. Per usual, they will be the ones on the hook for the costs of this cynical proposal.

Please deem LD 945 “Ought Not To Pass” and maintain the current simple and effective asset limitations for Mainers receiving public funds via TANF. Thank you for your time and consideration.