Ohio Bill Sparks Questions Over Public Benefits

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The director of a county Jobs and Family Services office in southeast Ohio said a proposal before the Legislature should be more focused on addressing the basic needs of the state's residents.

Jack Frech of Athens County said funding for public programs that provide food and cash assistance to Ohioans in need have been reduced by millions. He made the comments in testimony to a Senate committee Wednesday.

The panel is examining a bill that would create an office within the state's social services agency to revise incentives for public assistance programs and coordinate employment services among the programs.

A spokesman for the state's Department of Jobs and Family Services said the programs help with residents' immediate needs and put them on a path out of poverty.