Thanks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott's insistence that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population, the state's Legislature implemented a policy earlier this year requiring all applicants for temporary cash assistance to pass a drug test before getting any help.
The results: Ninety-eight percent passed. And the process will cost the state $178 million.
Cost of the tests averages about $30. Assuming that 1,000 to 1,500 applicants take the test every month, the state will owe about $28,800-$43,200 monthly in reimbursements to those who test drug-free.
That compares with roughly $32,200-$48,200 the state may save on one month’s worth of rejected applicants.
Net savings to the state: $3,400 to $5,000 annually on one month’s worth of rejected applicants. Over 12 months, the money saved on all rejected applicants would add up to $40,800 to $60,000 for a program that state analysts have predicted will cost $178 million this fiscal year.