In 2011 Governor Snyder made significant cuts to the social services of the state of Michigan. The two most devastating cuts were the 48 month Cash Assistance Benefits cap, or the welfare cap, and a reduction in unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks. These cuts were the harshest in the nation and were designed to pay for $1.7 billion in tax breaks to corporations that still have not yielded the jobs that Gov. Snyder and his GOP brethren promised. These cuts came at a time when Michigan's unemployment rate stood at 10.6 percent and demonstrated a callous attitude and an utter lack of understanding of the needs Michigan's unfortunate.
With the passage of the welfare cap legislation, 15,000 families lost their benefits in the first year, including families that were caring for the disabled and for special needs children. Many of these families were already struggling with job loss from the 2008 recession and had been left with no other recourse but to turn to low paying jobs and to seek help from private charitable organizations or the private safety net. Now two years later, 1 in 5 households in Michigan don't always have enough money for food. Many families are struggling just to keep the lights on, to pay for day care, and to put gas in the car so that they can get back and forth to work. Michigan's current median household income is $45,981, which is a 20 percent drop from recent years and currently rates 36th in the nation. At the time Gov. Snyder signed the welfare cap legislation, the poverty rate in Michigan was 16.8 percent, and in the past two years it has risen to 17.5 percent and Michigan has seen the largest increase in the poverty rate in the nation over the past 10 years.
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