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Pennsylvania Lawmakers Continue Debate Over Sweeping Reforms To Welfare System

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Legislation that makes sweeping reforms to Pennsylvania's welfare system was among the package of bills passed along with the new state budget last week.

Republicans pushed for the administrative changes to the welfare system in the belief that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in efficiencies that can be found. But Democrats like Allegheny County's Joe Markosek, ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, are worried.

"Perhaps cutting waste, fraud, and abuse is just an excuse to cut benefits, terminate eligibility, cut provider rates – who knows?"

But Bucks County House Republican Scott Petri believes reducing administrative costs may actually reduce waiting lists. "We could actually provide services to people who need them and not jobs for people who think that it's become their right to have a paycheck out of the taxpayer dole."

Skeptics say the changes give too much authority to the state welfare secretary.

Reported By Tony Romeo, KYW Newsradio

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