As Pennsylvania continues searching for a way to close its $4 billion budget gap, the mantra of "cut waste, fraud, and abuse" is growing ever louder. While ending waste, fraud, and abuse is a critical part of providing good services, these problems are not where the bulk of spending goes. Meanwhile, programs to reduce such fraud, like random drug testing of TANF recipients, is likely to cost far more than it saves.
CLASP has just updated a report on random drug testing to show the cost of these programs. According to their report, the cost of catching a drug abuser runs between $20,000 and $77,000 per person. Meanwhile, in most counties, a family of three only receives $403 per month from TANF.
When the state budget is announced on March 8, there will be a number of cost-cutting measures included. As we get closer to budget time, please take a moment to talk to your legislators now to prevent penalizing people using needed services while running up unnecessary costs.