The Star got it right on welfare fix

Dateline: Thu 30 Nov 2006

All this hand-wringing and bashing over the fact that Gov. Mitch Daniels is a change-agent is getting old. The truth is, the Dems had 17 years to get the show on the road and they mostly played tiddly-winks (or worked crossword puzzles).

Now along comes Mitch with some new ideas, and he gets blasted for thinking outside the box -- and getting stuff done.

The Star fortunately has endorsed his new welfare initiatives in a sound fashion. To with, from this morning's paper:

"A 2005 survey found that 65 percent of FSSA's "customers" rated service as "below average.'' About half reported that it was difficult to simply reach a caseworker. Creating an efficient system supported by modern equipment should ease those frustrations.

"Over the course of the contract, taxpayers are expected to save more than $490 million.

"Better service at lower cost, with an added bonus of 1,000 new jobs. What's not to like about the deal?

"Critics -- and there are always critics -- already are complaining that the consortium will make a profit. It's unclear, however, why they think that's such a bad thing.

"Others are fearful for the future of the 2,200 state employees who now handle welfare cases. About 700 will stay with the state. The contract reserves jobs for the rest with the IBM team, at the same or higher pay and similar benefits. The jobs will be protected for two years.

"What Daniels announced on Wednesday is a great deal for Indiana's poorest residents and its taxpayers. It's another innovative step from a governor who continues to meet his promise of overhauling an often dysfunctional state government."

Dems had a good run this past election and more power to 'em. But sometimes, you have to put your ideas where your mouth is.

comments: ruth@ruthholladay.com

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