chapter  1
Introduction: American Poverty
Pages 9

Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) has fundamentally changed the American approach to poverty, both philosophically and in policy design. Wisconsin's innovative welfare plan was initially based on the philosophy that recipients should be given "a light touch". Income disregards and state tax exemptions can improve the incomes of ex-recipients, but if recipients remain on Temporary Assistance to Needy Children (TANF) while working they soon exhaust their five years of benefit eligibility. Better options include education and job training programs for the employed, and improvements in state and federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) programs. Community service jobs (CSJs) can provide full-time employment and be designed to provide education and skills training on the job. In a weak economy tax credits might have to be more favorable than those that were made available under the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) and the Welfare to Work Tax Credit (WWTC) programs.