Skip to main content

Report questions work or welfare; says Minn. 14th most generous state


A study from the Washington, D.C.-based CATO Institute is questioning whether people are better off working or being on welfare, KSTP-TV reports.

The findings were released Monday by the Libertarian think tank, which updated its 1995 study "The Work Versus Welfare Trade-Off: An Analysis of the Total Level of Welfare Benefits State By State."

In the updated 2013 study, CATO finds that Minnesota is the 14th most generous state in the country when it comes to welfare benefits. Hawaii is first, followed by Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.

North Dakota ranks 17th on the list, while South Dakota comes in at No. 21. Wisconsin is No. 35 on the list of most generous states for welfare benefits.

Mississippi is the least generous state for welfare benefits, the CATO study says.

In the study, author Michael Tanner questions if people are favoring higher-paying government aid over low-paying job opportunities.

"If you look at all those overlapping programs, people can accumulate a great many benefits, and those benefits act as a disincentive to work," Tanner told KSTP.

As an example, the report finds, the maximum amount of aid a Minnesota parent with two children can get in aid per year is $12,060, and with federal benefits including housing and healthcare factored in, the amount totals $31,603 in tax-free dollars. The amount is an increase of $3,738 over the 1995 level of $27,865 -- an amount CATO adjusted for inflation.

By contrast, a parent who works full-time earning Minnesota's minimum-wage of $7.25 per hour earns $15,080 a year before taxes are taken out.

The findings of the report has led the local conservative think tank, the MN Freedom Foundation, to call for reform and strengthen work requirements.

Annette Meeks of the foundation tells KSTP that only 56 percent of welfare recipients are working right now. The state Department of Human Services requires parents to have a job or look for one.

The state Department of Human Services said 41,000 Minnesotans were on welfare in 2012 and 71 percent of the recipients are children, KSTP reported. There's a 60-month lifetime limit in the welfare program in the state.

Read the CATO study here.

See KSTP's report on the CATO Institute study below.

Next Up

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).

Screen Shot 2020-06-15 at 7.11.05 AM

Minneapolis teen arrested in St. Cloud after fleeing police in stolen vehicle

The vehicle was stolen in a car-jacking in Minneapolis Thursday.

snow, blowing snow

Winter storm warnings issued with heavy snow set to slam MN

Parts of northern Minnesota could see more than a foot of snow, but there won't be much in the Twin Cities.

D'Angelo Russell

With KAT out, Timberwolves can't upset Nets

D'Angelo Russell stepped up but couldn't overcome Brooklyn's firepower.

Everson Griffen Vikings dot com

Everson Griffen confirms he has bipolar disorder

"I’ve been running from it a long time. I’m not ashamed of it anymore.”

Angela Renee Jones, St. Cloud murder suspect

St. Cloud suspect now charged in two local murder cases

Both murders happened within a day of each other in June.


Report: Minn. warming faster than most states

Minnesota is warming faster than all but two states, according to a new report from the non-profit group Climate Central, a science and journalism organization whose mission is to communicate science to the public. The group analyzed temperature records for the last 100 years.

Minnesota is 6th most expensive state to raise kids, report says

The Fiscal Times ranks Minnesota No. 6 of the "12 Most Expensive States to Raise Children." According to the report, Minnesotans spend an average of $9,700 in full-time childcare per year, which is almost as expensive as the cost of tuition at a public university, nearly $10,400 on average.