Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

New York Mayor Challenges New Welfare Law

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

New York Mayor Challenges New Welfare Law

Article excerpt

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York filed suit against the federal government challenging the newly enacted welfare reform law with violating the 10th Amendment. The city, in its suit, contends that the law, because it would permit municipal employees to turn in illegal immigrants who seek services such as police protection, hospital care, and public schooling, unconstitutional. The suit marks one of the first major challenges to the new law, and it raises many of the most serious questions the law will pose for cities.

Because a disproportionate number of Americans on welfare live in central cities, especially children, the implementation of the new law is expected to pose difficult and expensive challenges to cities. The new law is anticipated to have significant indirect effects, including fiscal, public safety, and public health.

The welfare reform law eliminates any automatic right to federal assistance, but imposes severe restrictions on legal and illegal immigrants. The law sharply reduces federal resources and it opens the door to states to spend less. The law also gives states broad authority with regard to the allocation of resources to communities.

For cities and towns, especially those with disproportionate numbers of residents who have been eligible for assistance, the changes could result in far less income for families, translating into sharply reduced sales, business, and property tax revenues in many communities, resulting from reductions in excess of $100 billion in financial assistance to these families over the next six years. …

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