Everyone of you concerned with the cost to your state of federal initiatives like the US State Department’s Refugee Resettlement program should be taking a cue from activists in Tennessee where they have been tirelessly attempting to dig out the cost of the program to the taxpayers of their state. And, more importantly, they aren’t waiting for the big news outlets in Tennessee to carry their message.
‘Community organizers’ have taken a page from the Leftist playbook and have published their own website entitled, ‘tn Council 4 political justice’—justice for the taxpaying citizens of Tennessee.
Here is a recent post in which TN Rep. Bill Sanderson, a Republican, gets called out for supporting more refugees in Tennessee when Medicaid dollars are short for needy Americans.
It’s no news to anyone listening in Tennessee, that Governor Haslam is warning that projected revenue shortfalls will mean budget cuts.
Speaker Harwell acknowledged that with “revenues down a little this year, [balancing the state’s budget] will be tough. But we will stick to the principles of fiscal responsibility and balance it responsibly.”
On January 2, 2014, The Tennessean reported: “The governor has argued that the annual growth in Medicaid spending has put the squeeze on other programs the state would like to spend money on. ‘Medicaid takes up all of our new dollars, and that’s just the hard fact,’ the governor told reporters after a Rotary Club speech last month.”
The week of January 20, 2014, the newspaper ran a series titled “Broken Trust” about the 7,100 most vulnerable Tennesseans with developmental disabilities who are forced to go without needed services because of the state’s failure to allocate the funds.
The funds needed to provide these services are Medicaid funds. These are dollars that the State spends and the federal government matches.
Rep. Bill Sanderson believes that these state Medicaid dollars should NOT go to Tennesseans with developmental disabilities, but instead, to refugees who don’t even live in Tennessee yet. He’s referring to the refugees that are eventually brought to Tennessee by Catholic Charities, a federal contractor that gets paid a lot of taxpayer money to bring refugees to Tennessee.
When refugees are brought to Tennessee by the federal contractors, they are immediately enrolled into any and all public assistance programs, including, state-funded TennCare, SSI, and cash welfare. The federal government used to reimburse the state for 3 years worth of what it cost the state to provide these benefits. But typical of the federal government, they broke their promise to the states and stopped reimbursing the states for what the federal program cost.
Sanderson helped block a bill last year in the Tennessee legislature that simply sought to require refugee contractors and the agencies they work with to divulge various costs to Tennessee taxpayers from the resettlement program. If you’ve spent any time following this federal plan for your “welcoming” state you know those numbers are not readily available—on purpose!
Last year, a bill was brought to Rep. Sanderson’s committee that was designed to help Tennessee figure out how much it was costing the state to pay for the federal program, a program that the state withdrew from in 2008 and is now run by a federal contractor.
But Rep. Sanderson who scathingly accused the bill sponsors and advocates of going on a “witch hunt against Catholic Charities,” related how he had watched a “60 Minutes” segment about refugees and it convinced him that they needed our help. He enthusiastically joined up with the federal contractors and led the effort to not pass the bill out of the committee.
Take a lesson in community organizing from Tennessee activists and follow TCPJ (see ‘follow’ link on bottom of right hand side bar). Have you asked your state legislators what refugee resettlement is costing your state?
For more on Tennessee, see our Nashville category, here.