A while back, we reported about the mandatory drug tests being implemented in Florida for all welfare recipients. The state’s Governor Rick Scott, an avid Tea Party supporter, claimed that the state needed to wean off those pesky low-income people who were sucking the state’s funds dry by taking advantage of the welfare system. Like most states, Florida was in fiscal trouble and Scott would be damned if those welfare recipients, who he claimed used drugs more than the rest of the general population, wasted more of the states’ money.
Well, the drug tests are in and it’s a good news bad new scenario for Scott. Bad news first: 96 percent of welfare applicants who took the drug test passed it so as it turned out welfare recipients aren’t the druggies Scott thought. But two percent did fail and another two percent refused to take it- so technically speaking it wasn’t a complete statement, just a blindingly overwhelming one. And the good news: even though Scott’s hypothesis in his little social experiment was wrong, the program has net some savings from the two percent who failed. And just how much of a dent will the druggies make in Florida’s deficit?
The Tampa Tribune reports:
Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.
The savings assume that 20 to 30 people — 2 percent of 1,000 to 1,500 tested — fail the drug test every month. On average, a welfare recipient costs the state $134 in monthly benefits, which the rejected applicants won’t get, saving the state $2,680-$3,350 per month.
But since one failed test disqualifies an applicant for a full year’s worth of benefits, the state could save $32,200-$48,200 annually on the applicants rejected in a single month.
Net savings to the state — $3,400 to $8,200 annually on one month’s worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800-$98,400 for the cash assistance program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.
And just how much of a dent is that? Well, if you assume the state saves on the high end of $98,400 per year- that comes out to (wait, let me get out my calculator)…a whopping 0.0552 percent.
It may seem minute and meaningless now, but hey, Governor Scott has got to start somewhere if he’s going to save his state.