How did a Chautauqua County department respond to being called out for low welfare-to-work numbers? The typical way a government responds any time it gets defensive: it wants to throw money at the problem.
This month, the Human Services Committee will look at the plan, by the Department of Social Services, which calls for the hiring of 16 positions to increase the county's woeful welfare-to-work numbers. It will cost $505,000 to get this program going.
"We're going to have to sit down and look at the numbers," county Legislator John Runkle said. "We're not asking the Social Services Department to be overachievers, we're asking them to be average."
But average is a long way off. In December, the number of welfare to work recipients was 10 percent, 24 percent less than what is typical in our state. Those high welfare numbers drive that nasty state mandate, which is higher Medicaid costs.
High county spending - added to too many school districts, towns and villages - leads to high taxes. High taxes stunt development and private investment, thus promoting a poor county.
Adding county jobs will not boost our tax base or bring in investment. It only adds to our already overabundant amount of local government.