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The New Retrenchment: Social Welfare Spending, 1977-2006

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Publication Date: September 2008

Publisher(s): Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Author(s): Lucy Dadayan; Thomas Gais

Topic: Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)

Keywords: Social Welfare Programs; State and Local Spending

Type: Report


State and local spending for social welfare programs -- including cash assistance, medical assistance, and social services -- fell in 2006 after adjusting for inflation and need, for the first time since 1983, according to a new report from the Rockefeller Institute. Although this decline was due in part to one-time changes in the Medicaid program, the 2006 decline also confirms broader, downward trends in social welfare expenditures since 2002, as well as major shifts in the relationship between state fiscal capacity and social welfare spending.