Report: Nathan Deal based savings from Florida drug-test law on bogus findings

Last week, when Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law a measure to require welfare applicants to submit to a drug test, his office included a precedent in the press release:

“Florida passed similar legislation back in 2010 decreasing their welfare applicant pool by 48 percent and saving their state $1.8 million.”

But the Huffington Post reports that the above statement is based on “bad research” conducted by a conservative think tank. Florida’s own evaluation of the law contradicted the finding:

“Florida’s caseload had been declining consistently since December 2010,” says a document from the state’s Department of Children and Families, which administers the assistance program (formally known nationwide as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families).

“On applying the previous rate of decline to a projection of the July-September 2011 caseload and factoring in the drug testing denials, we found that the projected caseload would have been lower than the actual caseload. Therefore we saw no dampening effect on the caseload for the one quarter (July-September) covered for this report.”

Deal’s people have sent us this copy of the report by the Foundation for Government Accountability, which produced the number used by the Georgia governor.

***
Today’s edition of the 2012 general election campaign for president features a race for the college-age crowd. From the New York Daily News:

Mitt Romney on Monday did something he rarely does — embraced one of President Obama’s initiatives.

Courting young voters, the likely GOP challenger supported Obama’s call for Congress to freeze rates on federal Stafford loans for college students.

“I think young voters in this country have to vote for me if they’re really thinking of what’s in the best interest of the country and what’s in their personal best interest,” Romney said….

With Congress debating how to pay for the freeze, Obama will be stumping for the rate’s extension during a tour of North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado this week.

Politico.com adds this thought to the president’s swing through North Carolina:

Obama’s Achilles Tarheel is the general lack of enthusiasm, especially among younger voters, that threatens to reverse his historic win in 2008, depriving him of a key part of his own map and imperiling his party’s tenuous foothold in the upper South.

Yet Romney’s own weakness, coupled with Obama’s major commitment of time and resources, will likely compensate, and strategists in both parties predict the state will remain a tossup deep into the fall.

***
Presidential primary voters in five states go to the polls today — New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Delaware. Newt Gingrich has staked his red-inked campaign on Delaware. From NBC News:

“I think we need to take a deep look at what we are doing,” Gingrich [said] Monday. “We will be in North Carolina tomorrow night and we will look and see what the results are.”

And yet we heard the same phraseology from Newt before those primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.

***
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Monday stumped through Pennsylvania with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., at his side – a try-out of sorts for the vice-presidential slot. The Philadelphia Inquirer managed to offer two caution lights in two sentences:

[T]he crowd of several hundred appreciated the senator’s star power. He drew louder applause than Romney at several points.

Romney, who has called President Obama too inexperienced, declined to answer a Fox News reporter’s question about whether Rubio, 40 and in his first Senate term, was qualified to serve a heartbeat away from the presidency.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

87 comments Add your comment

gm

April 24th, 2012
10:01 am

Why not test all gov agencies? why pick on welfare receipts, some of those people have paid their taxes thru the state so now they have to be tested to receive benefits they paid for?
The tax payers in Florida had to pick up the tab, but this what happens when you put conservatives in office who pick and chose what gov program to hurt.

catlady

April 24th, 2012
10:10 am

Test everyone. Everyone who gets a homeowner’s tax credti, or Social Security (after the small amount they have put in is exhausted), same for Medicare, dependent credit, those who use the tax-paid roads, or fire and police protection, etc. Because, let’s face it, we all get benefits paid by others.

Centrist

April 24th, 2012
10:13 am

We should believe a quote from the liberal Huffington Post over common sense that drug testing would lower caseloads?

No attribution of where that quote came from other than “Florida’s own evaluation”. This sounds like the Drudge headline: “CARNEY: White House cleared in Secret Service probe — by Obama’s lawyer…”

catlady

April 24th, 2012
10:14 am

And re the “bogus findings”, see the “Texas miracle” for education, and think of how many millions of kids it has messed up, how many billions of dollars it has channeled to friends of Bush.

PMC

April 24th, 2012
10:15 am

Whom do we trust when all the research is bad? Why would I trust the HP any more than a conservative think tank?

Diogenes

April 24th, 2012
10:15 am

gm – To be wise managers of money it seems to make sense to go to the area of most potential abuse and fix it, then move to the next area of abuse and fix that one, then proceed up the chain and fix problems all the way to the top. Welfare abuse might not be the biggest area of abuse, but it is huge and fixing it will make America more fiscally sound. Only by doing this will abuse of our system end or at least be limited. You show very limited thought process when you say things such as “this what happens when you put conservatives in office who pick and chose what gov program to hurt.” There is abuse, horrid abuse, on all sides. ACORN is a great example of abuse on the liberal side.

Diogenes

April 24th, 2012
10:17 am

catlady – I wish there were educational requirements for posting. Your comments are ignorant beyond belief. You can do better if you try.

Al

April 24th, 2012
10:18 am

I read an article somewhere, I will try to locate it, that stated that the program is actually costing Florida money because the amount of assistance saved from finding people on drugs is much smaller than the amount the state has had to pay out in tests.

Raiderbeater

April 24th, 2012
10:18 am

Enter your comments here

Raiderbeater

April 24th, 2012
10:19 am

Bush’s Fault!!!!

Yes we can! Yes we can!

Hope! Change! Sarcasm!

Al

April 24th, 2012
10:21 am

Al

April 24th, 2012
10:25 am

Diogenes – What you are saying makes sesnse to a point but you are conviently leaving out that the programs they choose are not at the bottom of the barrel but usually programs that their personal politics have chosen. You mention ACORN but not how the SuperPacs are causing more harm than ACORN ever was and yet not only do I hear no out cry on this but groups saying how it’s their right. How do you reconcile that?

Tea party Nut and some GOP Clown

April 24th, 2012
10:28 am

Test all people that get government money money welfare to contractor to bankers if fraud is what you are after?

gm

April 24th, 2012
10:29 am

Diogenes

The no. 1 fraud and waste is medicaid, why not testing those people ? please turn off idiot news fox , name me one person that went to jail Acorn?

Keep doing this GOP

April 24th, 2012
10:30 am

So we are to assume that ALL who recieve benefits from the TANP are on drugs? That is what the legislation that was passed assumes, that all people who recieve benefits are on drugs.
This was a bill passed because of the belief of the stereotype that most of the people on government benefits , whether it be UI or TANP or SSI are just lazy people just recieving these benefits just to further their drug habit . Or we have the stereotype ” welfare mother” who collects these benefits while driving her Escolade and talking on her I-phone.
This was nothing but a mean spirited bill that will line the pockets of a drug-testing company. Who will get the contract based on contributions made to a certain politicians campagn. And will line their pockets on the backs of the people who can afford it the least.

Centrist

April 24th, 2012
10:37 am

@ Diogenes – Good posts. But you waste your time responding to individual partisans.

Having said that – @Al, I’m sure you can find a liberal article saying testing and eliminating druggies from using welfare money to buy drugs is not cost effective. But like Obama says about increasing taxes on the extremely wealthy where it won’t dent the deficit – “It’s about fairness”. I agree with that concept for BOTH ends of the economic spectrum. (I’m a centrist).

drug test at the pentagon

April 24th, 2012
10:37 am

God knows there is more waste and fraud and corruption going on with our military than any other program imaginable. Billions lost in Iraq chasing WMD’s. Not to mention the type of BS that is fed to us daily about how the fight is going, deaths of our soldiers like Pat Tillman, and the killing of innocent people in Afghanistan and Iraq. Face it – the pentagon needs an enema!

Keep doing this GOP

April 24th, 2012
10:37 am

Of course this is from the same bunch who dont believe we need eithics reform. Maybe ALEC decided for them that eithics reform wasnt in THEIR best interest.

Didi

April 24th, 2012
10:41 am

This law is passed because it is easy to pick on welfare recipients. They’re not going to put up much of a fight as would people receiving other types of benefits. In the end, testing welfare recipients will be an even larger drain on the taxpayers.

bob

April 24th, 2012
10:41 am

gm, where on the pay stub does it show a welfare contribution ?

bob

April 24th, 2012
10:43 am

gm, how many examples do you need ? “A former field director for the political advocacy organization ACORN was sentenced today in district court to up to three years of probation.
Christopher Edwards, who in August pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime of compensation for registration of voters, a gross misdemeanor, received a suspended jail sentence and a $500 fine. He has agreed to testify against ACORN and one of its former regional directors, Amy Busefink.

Jack

April 24th, 2012
10:47 am

I don’t mind paying my share of the cost of testing welfare recipients. Some innocents will caught in the web, but the law will stop some of the welfare parasites from gaming the system.

WOW

April 24th, 2012
10:48 am

We should believe a quote from the liberal Huffington Post over common sense that drug testing would lower caseloads?

TANF case loads have been decreasing before the law was passed becasue of several factors (new/stronger work requirements, increase in Child support going after dead beat dads, etc…) that have nothing to do with drug testing, which is what the DCF people and the Judge in the case cited in stating that the data that Deal used was flawed.

Centrist

April 24th, 2012
10:49 am

@ Keep doing this GOP posted “the legislation that was passed assumes, that all people who recieve (sic) benefits are on drugs… And will line their pockets on the backs of the people who can afford it the least.”

Many JOBS require drug testing, so you could make the same claim that those job holders are assumed to be on drugs. I have no problem with drug testing those in safety/ sensitive related jobs. If welfare recipients aren’t spending the charitable payments on drugs, they will have more funds to buy necessities which is the purpose of welfare payments. Again, BOTH ends of the spectrum (I’m a centrist).

3d

April 24th, 2012
10:49 am

Don’t drug test able bodied welfare recipients.

Just require them to pick up trash on the highways, clean up around the schools or otherwise contribute in some positive way to our society by exerting a little physical effort to make things better.

I think then we’d see how many really want to be on welfare.

Don’t have a problem taking care of folks that are handicapped or in bad spots through no fault of their own, but it’s way past time the abuse in this program is put to a stop.

honested

April 24th, 2012
10:50 am

Wow, another case of a BAD ALEC LAW producing BOGUS RESULTS!

Whodathunkit?

But, never fear, the General Assembly will never admit it’s mistake and we Georgia Taxpayers will get to shoulder the burden, as usual.

td

April 24th, 2012
10:51 am

y Bill O’Reilly

We are about to give you some amazing stats about America becoming a welfare state. We’ll start with the overall picture. During the last two years, ‘09 and ‘10, the feds have spent more than a $1 trillion on programs to help poor Americans.

Most of that money goes to what is called “means-tested entitlements”. That’s direct assistance, Medicaid, food stamp, child care and nutrition, checks to needy family, things like that; the recession, of course, driving some of that assistance.

But, since 1970, means-tested entitlements in America have increased — ready — An unbelievable 5,500 percent. Right now an astounding 150 million Americans live in households that receive some kind of government assistance. It’s almost half the population.

Social justice, the primary reason the USA is changing into an entitlement country much like the western European nations.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2012/04/24/bill-oreilly-entitlement-society-strangling-us-economy#ixzz1syB7QqgD

Politicians in both parties understand that giving money away means votes. Also there is no question that both the feds and the states have loosened standards under which Americans receive entitlements. Since President Obama has been in office, federal welfare spending is up about 41 percent. Food stamps up about 135 percent since 2007; from 30 billion to 72 billion a year; disability payments up 116 percent from a decade ago. More than three million American workers have signed up for disability since President Obama took office.

So you can see the President’s liberal spending policies and overall belief that the feds should provide is costing the nation an enormous amount of money with no end in sight. You telling me that all of a sudden Americans need more disabilities? No. It’s because claiming a disability is worth a shot in the current political climate.

Now here is the most important part of the memo. Those who advocate cutting entitlements or making it more difficult to receive them will be immediately branded as bad people. Just for telling you this: I’ll be labeled a horrible guy.

But consider this: what’s worse? A bad economy for all Americans, which we have; a $16 trillion debt that is damaging the dollar worldwide, which we have; or a responsible entitlement agenda that gets spending under control? Which is worse?

All sane people know safety nets are needed. Poor families must be helped. There are children involved. But when the standards for getting entitlement money are so lax that the system becomes easy to game, you know you have a problem. And we do.

And that’s “The Memo.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2012/04/24/bill-oreilly-entitlement-society-strangling-us-economy#ixzz1syBGKOPv

Bobby

April 24th, 2012
10:52 am

Certainly all members of the Georgia Legislature along with the Governor and his staff should be drug tested. What’s good for the citizens of Georgia should be good for the Governor and the Legislature.

wellabovenormal

April 24th, 2012
10:52 am

One poster asks for names of people who went to jail and another poster responds with items about people who – wait for it – didn’t go to jail. What’s the IQ of this bunch?

Al

April 24th, 2012
10:53 am

Centrist – The problem right now with the program is that they are not finding enough people doing drugs to cross the barrier of costs. Over time, it will probably pay for itself but it will be years before the amount of possible benefits the person could have gotten equals the amount paid out by the program. Also raising taxes on the wealthy alone will not fix the deficit but it is a start. I tell everyone I know now that tax increases are coming across the board at some point. We all got into this together and it is going to take us all to get out.

td

April 24th, 2012
10:54 am

honested

April 24th, 2012
10:50 am

Hitting those talking points hard and heavy again this morning. It does not matter here in Georgia because Obama is not going to win.

honested

April 24th, 2012
10:56 am

td,

Name two people with an IQ over 70 that care what bill o’liely thinks.

td

April 24th, 2012
11:04 am

honested

April 24th, 2012
10:56 am

O’Reily is the only true centrist in the media today. I get angry all the time at him for defending Obama and calling for national programs to solve this or that problem. His talking point memo that I posted is dead on accurate about the welfare state we currently have and are heading towards. Instead of bashing the messager why not try to show where the message is wrong?

Keep doing this GOP

April 24th, 2012
11:06 am

Many JOBS require drug testing, so you could make the same claim that those job holders are assumed to be on drugs

But who is paying for that drug test? The company where the applicant is putting in the application is paying for it. Now the bill states that the applicant will be reimbersed for the drug test if it is clean. But what it doesnt say is will they be reimbursed the whole amount which is estimated to be$17 a month or part of it. And also it says that if they fail , they will not be turned into law enforcement. If you believe that, i have beachfront property in Highlands N.C. to sell you.

hooray europe

April 24th, 2012
11:20 am

So the point here is that we need to be weening the population off of government assistance. The spending is just not feasible. Europe is a glaring example of the path we are headed down. Take people off the crutch of gov’t support and force them to survive on their own by contributing to the economy in some form.

John

April 24th, 2012
11:22 am

If we’re going to test welfare applicants, I think we need to test everyone…including legislatures, judges, the governor, etc. I don’t want to fund anyone’s drug habit. We all know drug addiction doesn’t just hit the poor.

T-Bone

April 24th, 2012
11:25 am

You can continue to bury your head in the sand and resort to tired complaints of liberal bias by the source of the quote, or you could try a search engine to find out for yourself: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/20/2758871/floridas-welfare-drug-tests-cost.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/18/us/no-savings-found-in-florida-welfare-drug-tests.html

The evidence of failure comes from the state’s data. Now the law’s defenders are saying it’s not about saving money, even though Governor Rick Scott had this to say when the bill was signed into law.

“While there are certainly legitimate needs for public assistance, it is unfair for Florida taxpayers to subsidize drug addiction,” Scott said. “This new law will encourage personal accountability and will help to prevent the misuse of tax dollars.”

LH20

April 24th, 2012
11:27 am

Even if the “drug test” is 99% accurate, 66,8% of the “positives” would acutually be false positives, that is people who actually are clean. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes%27_theorem.
“This surprising result arises because the number of non-users is very large compared to the number of users, such that the number of false positives (0.995%) outweighs the number of true positives (0.495%). Out of 15 positive results, only 5, about 33%, are genuine.”

Had Enough

April 24th, 2012
11:28 am

Drug test all government officials starting with Georgia State Senator John Albers! Also make all state officials take a lie-detector test to see if they have paid all their taxes. Nothing, would ever get passed if they all had to follow the laws they create!

Old Farmer

April 24th, 2012
11:29 am

I’d like to see the legislators and the governor tested. Or better yet, let’s have no one tested and stop making the testing companies rich.

I’d be interesting to know who has a financial interest in the companies that run the drug tests. I would also be fascinating to know if any testing company is lobbying down there.

Centrist

April 24th, 2012
11:29 am

@ Al – You keep saying the cost of drug testing is greater than the savings of suspending welfare to those who spend it on drugs. I am skeptical of that statement, but even if it were true – it is about the fairness just like increasing taxes on the super wealthy. There are those who say it would be counter-productive and a net loss of jobs, etc. (I am skeptical of that, too) Be a centrist and if be consistent in the application of “fairness”.

@ Keep doing this posted “But who is paying for that drug test? The company where the applicant is putting in the application is paying for it.”

Liberals either don’t get, or simply pretend not to understand that costs are passed on to consumers – the same taxpayers. Drug testing is now a normal, and unfortunately necessary, cost of doing business that is NOT paid by senior management or stockholders – it is passed on to YOU.

Warrior Woman

April 24th, 2012
11:30 am

The alleged “Florida’s own evaluation” is not an actual evaluation, but a projection of straight line declines in caseload. If that’s all there is to the evaluation, the evaluation is bogus.

@catlady – You don’t see the difference between government handouts and letting people keep more of their own money?

@Al – The difference between SuperPACs and ACORN include legal v. illegal activities and receipt of public monies in the form of grants. When you’re supported by tax dollars, as ACORN was, you should be held to a higher standard.

Peter

April 24th, 2012
11:33 am

start by testing all government officials…elected and non elected…….. Start with Nathan all on his staff, and every guy or gal who has been voted in to office.

BBuBB@

April 24th, 2012
11:35 am

Test all politicians!

Hussein

April 24th, 2012
11:37 am

The never-reliable Huffy Poo is the source for the claim of “bad research”. That’s just laugh-out-loud funny!

Gern

April 24th, 2012
11:42 am

Even the FL politician who sponsored the bill would not submit to a drug test when pressed – of course he is more than happy to claim that welfare recipients should be more than happy to their away their constitutional rights.

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-february-2-2012/poor-pee-ple

What a joke of a man

td

April 24th, 2012
11:42 am

I read the HP article and it conveniently leaves out how to account for the number of people that did not apply or how many withdrew their application due to them knowing they could not pass a drug test.

Centrist

April 24th, 2012
11:53 am

@ T-Bone – That grossly biased Miami Herald article simply highlighted the ACLU partial claims. It is unknown how many welfare recipients fell off the rolls rather than be tested knowing they would fail. Half as many who failed canceled their tests – while others certainly didn’t bother to schedule tests and voluntarily went off the welfare rolls. New welfare enrollees have yet to be scheduled for tests – data on them is still downstream.

Regardless – as has often been pointed out it is good social policy not to subsidize the use of drugs. We have many social programs taxpayers pay for to ward off use of tobacco, alcohol, drugs, encourage use of seatbelts, obey speeding laws, discourage drunk driving, etc. Those programs cost taxpayers up front, but the positive results relieve the strain on our police, rescue, hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security disability, and society in general.

Al

April 24th, 2012
11:53 am

Centrist – Simple math would prove it to be true. For the sake of argument and simple math lets say 1000 people per month apply for benefits in Florida. With tests being $15 each, that means it cost the state $15,000 to test everyone. If 2.6% are found to be ineligible that is about 25 people. If the average benefit is about $250/month, that means a savings of $6,250. You would need at least 5% of the poeple testing positive to break even each month, twice the current amount, and more than that to show the profit they claimed would be their.

Really?

April 24th, 2012
11:55 am

Why believe a report with references that can be checked, when we have a article from the Miami Herald that has none?