Georgia’s lawmakers are out of step with Georgia voters when it comes to drug testing people who receive benefits from the government. While lawmakers are busy creating a drug screening test for Georgia’s poorest families, they have ignored two groups that receive and control a bigger share of government money: corporate executives and elected officials. A recent survey by Better Georgia shows that Georgia voters get it right:
- 79 percent support testing elected officials and senior appointed officials
- 66 percent support testing CEOs of corporations that get tax credits or government contracts
- 64 percent support testing welfare recipients and unemployment recipients
Government abuses happen at the top, with those who have power. The state gives money to many groups of people, including our elected officials, corporate executives, Medicaid recipients and families that need temporary assistance. It’s interesting to see lawmakers single out just one group for extra scrutiny. This group happens to be the state’s poorest families who have the least power to abuse the government system. Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers, R-Woodstock, introduced Senate Bill 292 that would require everyone applying for welfare to take a drug test. Applicants would have to pay out-of-pocket for the tests but some would be able to seek reimbursement through government-run health care programs. The cost of the drug test is equivalent to one day’s pay for those earning the upper limit to qualify for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, proposed a similar bill, H.B. 668. Gov. Nathan Deal has offered support for the legislation to drug test recipients of welfare and for testing anyone who receives unemployment benefits. He recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “It is something that I certainly would entertain.” Georgia voters are telling Gov. Deal that if he wants people who receive government money to pee in a cup, he should pee first. While it’s true that meth addiction is a problem in rural Georgia and is extremely disruptive for some of the state’s poorest families, Georgia voters have their sights set on people who hold power and control the purse strings. To truly look for government abuses, let’s start with the men in power and not the women trying to put food on the table for their children.