Rep. Mitchell renews effort for welfare reform, technology to stop fraud & abuse

With the State’s budget impasse entering month five, State Representative Bill Mitchell (R-Forsyth) is renewing his effort to pass meaningful welfare reform legislation that emphasizes personal responsibility and implements new technology to stop the waste, fraud and abuse in the welfare system.

Mitchell, a long-time advocate of welfare reform, believes the Illinois General Assembly needs to pass reforms to save taxpayer dollars and properly prioritize spending.

“We need to pass strong welfare reforms to put a stop to the waste, fraud and abuse in the welfare system,” Rep. Mitchell said. “With 4.7 million Illinoisans on welfare, more than one-third of our citizens are receiving taxpayer-funded benefits. We simply cannot afford to do nothing.”

Representative Mitchell is once again sponsoring welfare reform legislation to require drug testing of welfare recipients, to include a work requirement in order to receive food stamps, to crack down on LINK card fraud, and to ban illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded benefits.

“Welfare should not be a way of life, nor should it be generational,” Mitchell said. “Big government has institutionalized poverty by massively expanding the welfare state, which is cruel to the people it entraps and further disincentivizes work. We need to protect the safety net for those who have fallen on hard times while at the same time emphasizing personal responsibility and the values that made our country great – an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.”

With new technology being implemented for credit and debit cards, Rep. Mitchell is backing legislation to require micro-chipped smart cards that utilize technology to prevent welfare fraud.

“Our welfare system figures in a 10% fraud rate. Think about that – welfare fraud eats up 10% of the total amount spent on welfare. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars, possibly as high as a billion dollars, on a statewide level. Requiring smart cards for welfare benefits and photo IDs for food stamps would cut way down on fraud and lead to billions in long-term taxpayer savings.”