Concord--Rep. William Smith (R-New Castle), who serves as a Division Chair of the House Finance Committee, and was the prime sponsor of legislation (HB 380) exempting the Commission on the Status of Mean from repeal, has criticized Gov. Lynch's motives for vetoing the measure. The bill, which was passed overwhelmingly in both chambers of the legislature, would also redirect the focus of the commission to proposing legislation to address the issue of fatherless families on the state's budget.
"The governor's veto message shows that he apparently missed the purpose of the legislation," said Smith. "His message was fixated exclusively toward the previous focus of the Commission, and its parallel with the Commission on the Status of Women, which is being repealed at the request of its own members."
In June 2008, the National Fatherhood Initiative (fatherhood.org) released ‘The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man,' a groundbreaking study that showed that the federal government spends $100 billion each year supporting father-absent homes. The estimate was a conservative one since the study did not measure impact for related costs such as the criminal justice system, which is overwhelmed by men who grew up in father-absent homes. The study was done by Steven L. Nock of the U of VA and Christopher J.Einolf of DePaul U.
According to the study, the $100 billion includes Medicaid ($23 billion), TANF ($15 billion), and Earned Income Tax Credit ($15 billion). This is in addition to state budget costs for their share of social costs. Children of fatherless families are less likely to attend college, more likely to have children out of wedlock and are less likely to marry. They earn less as adults and are more likely to be incarcerated than children from two-parent families.
While Rep.Smith remains concerned over the causes of the high cost of Health and Human Services, he strongly believes that the cuts made were necessary as a result of state affordability constraints. “We absolutely need to go after root causes if we are to restore good health to our state. The refocused Commission, its inclusion of legislators, its short-term focus on development of legislation to address the causes, and its zero budgeted cost (even mileage reimbursement for members is not paid) takes direct aim at finding solutions to our long term social services costs. It is ludicrous that the Governor would veto this study, while taking the position that this is somehow only about men. It seems that he may not have even read the bill. I hope that the Legislature will be able to override the Governor’s veto." concluded Smith.