Congress Should Extend TANF Emergency Fund
The TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) Emergency Fund created by Congress as part of last year’s Recovery Act is set to expire on September 30.
If the fund is not extended, additional deep cuts may be made to the TANF program that serves low-income families with children in our state. The program has already been taken deep cuts and will be subject to the 6 % across-the-board cuts ordered by Governor Gregoire. Additional cuts to the program will likely come out of child care cuts and grant reductions.
Many other states will eliminate the program altogether further dampening attempts at economic recovery. In our state, the program is likely to continue.
Since its creation, 37 states, including Washington, have also used the Emergency Fund to support a range of subsidized jobs programs, including transitional jobs, summer jobs programs for youth in low-income families and supported work models for individuals with disabilities.
It has provided more than 7,000 jobs in Washington State alone.
The Emergency Fund has helped unemployed families find work; businesses expand capacity in a difficult economic environment, and given a financial boost to local communities. The jobs subsidized by the TANF Emergency Fund are in the private, non-profit, and public sectors, and include administrative, retail, construction, health services, and landscaping.
The job subsidies provided by the Emergency Fund have been especially helpful to small businesses—helping them add new jobs and expand their business. With subsidized jobs, small businesses have extra resources for additional investments.
With unemployment in Washington State at 11 percent, Congress should extend this fund and continue to provide federal aid for jobs to strengthen the local economy. This is no time to abandon a successful job program that supports those trying to stay in the workforce.