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Published: Wednesday, 12/10/2008

Ohio aid deficit hits $49.5M as need grows


COLUMBUS - In two weeks, the projected shortfall in Ohio's welfare budget has more than doubled, a forecast that jeopardizes subsidized child care, job-training programs, and other services for low-income families.

State officials now estimate a shortfall of $49.5 million in the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families fund by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

The consequences could be dire for Ohio's neediest families.

"It means there are going to be more of them," said Phil Cole, executive director of the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies. "The need gets bigger, the questions get harder, and the resources aren't growing."

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which oversees the welfare budget and many of itsprograms, agreed with Mr. Cole's assessment.

"This is the new economy with higher demands and fewer dollars," said Scarlett Bouder, spokesman for the agency.

"We're going to have to make some tough choices before the fiscal year ends. We know there will be cuts, but we don't know

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