Block grants hurt fast-growing states, Clinton warns Fla.

March 31, 1995|By Los Angeles Times

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- President Clinton warned the Florida Legislature yesterday that fast-growing states could fall into a fiscal "trap" under GOP plans to convert welfare and crime-fighting programs to lump sum payments to the states.

Seeking to forge a new alliance in his battle against the Republican proposals, Mr. Clinton told a legislative joint session that Congress' primary purpose in using block grant maneuvers is to save itself money.

While awarding sums could generate a profit for states with stable or declining populations, it could penalize those forced to stretch the funds across a growing caseload, he said.

A bill approved last week by the GOP House would overhaul the entitlement welfare system, which now provides automatic increases in federal spending when caseloads increase. Another Republican bill would convert spending under the Clinton-backed 1994 crime bill into block grant form.

Mr. Clinton's remarks, his first to a state legislature as president, came during a three-day swing through the South that increasingly has taken on the cast of a campaign swing.

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