Drug Testing of Workforce Supports Would Cost State Over $4 Million

For Immediate Release
July 28, 2011
Contact: Krista Buckhalter
Office: (601) 944-9320
E-mail: [email protected]

 Program would not fund itself through savings from termination of benefits

JACKSON, MS – New analysis on this issue conducted by the Mississippi Economic Policy Center shows that a policy to drug test all current unemployment insurance and welfare recipients would cost the state $4.4 million. In addition to this up-front cost, administrative costs and potential legal costs would also apply.  Some highlights from the research include:

  • 177,446 individuals and households received either unemployment insurance or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in May;
  • Up-front Cost - Drug testing every individual that received some type of assistance would be $4.4 million;
  • This is Not a New Idea - Other states such as Louisiana and Idaho found that neither policies requiring mandatory drug testing of social assistance recipients nor random testing generate enough savings to pay for the implementation of the program;
  • Unknown Costs - Additional costs of providing child welfare services to the children of parents who test positive, additional administrative costs associated with adding a new program or the costs associated with defending the state against lawsuits similar to those filed in other states.

“Proposals to implement drug testing for individuals receiving workforce supports won’t pay for themselves and add another costly layer of bureaucracy to an already overstretched and underfunded system” said Ed Sivak, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center.  “If this type of money were available, a much more effective way of reducing participation in workforce support programs would be to put 100 of the educators who were laid off due to budget cuts back in our classrooms.”


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