Even as the economy pushes more people into poverty, revenue-strapped states can be expected to make further cutbacks in social welfare spending, particularly in poor states where people need it most.
That's according to a new report by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, which tracked state and local spending on all forms of low-income assistance programs from 1977 to 2006.
“As states deal with the economic downturn in 2009, I would expect more cuts in social welfare programs while the reported number of poor people is increasing,” Thomas Gais, lead researcher on the study, told Stateline.org.
Making matters worse, he said, states will be trimming welfare budgets that already are lower on a per-person, inflation-adjusted basis than at any time since 1983 — the end of a severe recession that started in the early 1980s.
The study, published Sept. 15, shows a steady decline in state spending on all welfare services over the last three decades with the steepest reductions in the poorest states.
Read the full report Poverty Gap Among States Widens on Stateline.org.