More Idahoans Need State Help
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Agency officials tasked with taking care of Idaho's poor and disabled say people are still struggling despite the state's low unemployment rate and improving economy.
Department of Health and Welfare Director Richard Armstrong told state budget writers Monday that high demands for public assistance continue to escalate, with more than 332,000 people receiving some sort of federal or state aid. Meanwhile, the number of Idaho families earning a living wage has steadily dropped for the past six years.
According to Armstrong, only a third of Idaho's 1.5 million residents earn a sufficient wage to provide for a family of four.Further adding to the struggle is the department's 13.6 percent turnover rate. Armstrong says the agency's best employees are being lured by private-sector salaries that pay nearly 40 percent more.