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Letter to the editor: Don't let HB 1483 become state law

Friday, May 2, 2014 - 12:01 am

In 2013, Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly voted for a bill that would subject poor women receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to unnecessary, warrantless and suspicionless drug tests.

The Republicans garnished public support for this legislation by claiming it protected the taxpayer. But all these so-alled fiscal conservatives were engaged in nothing but a series of political tricks designed to make it seem they were working for you, when in reality they were working against you.

The Legislative Service Agency put out a fiscal impact statement on HB 1483, which stated that the legislation would result in a net increase in state expenditures of $2.6 million its first year. The fiscal impact statement went on to say, “Actual revenue the state could receive from withheld TANF benefits for positive drug tests is estimated to be approximately $215,000.”

These Republicans who supported this bill told you and me it was going to save us money, when the truth is this bill would have raised taxes by $2 million, just in its first year. And I guarantee you, your Republican representative was closed-lipped in telling you how this legislation would increase the surveillance state upon the citizenry, increase the size of government and has been declared unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals.

Before this law was declared unconstitutional in Florida, the Sunshine State drug-tested 4,086 TANF applicants, and only 108 individuals (2.6 percent) tested positive.

Hence, the Indiana Republicans supported this bill not because they believe poor women with babies are fleecing the taxpayer. The Republicans supported this bill because they believe it would blindly rally segments of their constituency behind them by appealing to their cognitive biases against the poor. They supported this bill because it would lead to a pharmaceutical corporation being granted a lucrative government contract. They supported this bill because it means millions of your tax dollars would be confiscated from you and given to the Indiana FSSA agency, so the agency can hire more bureaucrats to administer said law. They supported this bill because they think anything that can swell the government’s payroll is progress.

But in this day of information, citizens are learning to see, think and listen for themselves. And as those citizens become politically mature they’re no longer going to fall for any more of these political tricks. Voters will no longer give blind obedience to a party or a politician’s propaganda. Their only obedience will be to the truth. And the truth is that it didn’t make any economic sense to support a bill that would have saved the taxpayer $215,000 from TANF beneficiaries failing drug test when the bill itself cost the taxpayer $2.6 million a year to administer.

Now in 2014, the Indiana Republicans are at it again working on passing a watered down version of the bill known as HB 1351. Please let your senators and representatives know that you do not support HB 1351, before this taxpayer-eating, blood-sampling and privacy-violating Frankenstein becomes law.

Clarence Leatherbury