Giuliani says he'll wipe out welfare in
NYC by 2000
by Blaine Harden
The Washington Post
NEW YORK - Proclaiming he will eradicate welfare with the same
"daring" that he used to crush crime, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said
yesterday he is going to end welfare in New York City by the year
The two-term Republican mayor declared that drug and alcohol
abuse will no longer be accepted as medical excuses for not working,
that women on welfare who have babies will be required to attend
parenting classes and that individuals who temporarily stop working
to go on welfare will have to pay back the money they receive.
"From the welfare capital of America, we will become the work capital of America," said Giuliani, who has made no secret that he is looking for a seat in the U.S. Senate or a vice presidential spot on the
GOP ticket in 2000.
Much of the substance of his speech appeared to echo changes undertaken first in Wisconsin. Welfare recipients unable to work in the private sector are required to spend 40 hours a week in job training or community service, and those considered fit to work are
Giuliani's undertaking, though, is of a different magnitude than anything attempted in Wisconsin, according to Mark Greenberg, a welfare specialist at the Washington-based Center on Law and Social Policy. New York has about 293,000 welfare cases; Milwaukee has 22,000.
The new welfare policy here owes considerably to the mayor's recent hiring of Jason Turner as director of the city's welfare agency. Turner was the architect of Wisconsin's program.
Giuliani has presided over a 34 percent decline in the city's welfare rolls since his election in 1993. That echoes an unprecedented 48 percent reduction in the city's crime rate.
If drug and alcohol abusers work while they participate in treatment programs, the mayor said, about 30,000 people would be removed
from welfare rolls.
But treatment experts here said requiring addicts and alcoholics to work can prove difficult.
"I think that most of the people who are in programs are chronically ill people who are really extremely broken down and are not people who are either psychologically, emotionally or physically in any
condition to work," said Ira Kramer, who is executive director of the New York Center for Addiction Treatment Services.
And welfare specialists reacted angrily to the idea of classes for low-income mothers with newborns.
"Any automatic assumption that simply because you are poor means you have to be taught how to be a parent is wrong," said Timothy Casey, assistant director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare