Sen. David G. Argall (R-29) Thursday praised the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for identifying and removing 113,000 former beneficiaries who are either ineligible, deceased or have left the state.

Closing these 113,000 cases is estimated to save taxpayers $25.1 million. Argall, who served as Chairman of last year's Senate Government Management and Cost Study Commission, applauded the efforts of the new leadership at the helm of DPW.

"Last year, we identified over $400 million in cuts to state government to save taxpayer money during this horrible recession," said Argall, who worked with the public in identifying cost savings, largely in the state's welfare budget appropriation, to produce the Commission's report. "With state government receiving less from over-burdened taxpayers, and a budget that cut welfare spending by $400 million, I am pleased to see Secretary Alexander and his team take swift action to remove people who are robbing this state through welfare fraud and abuse."

On Wednesday, the House Majority Policy Committee, chaired by Representative Dave Reed (R-Indiana), held a hearing that featured testimony from Tim Costa, DPW's Executive Deputy Secretary, aimed at evaluating welfare reforms that were put in place in the 2011-12 state budget. At the hearing, Costa reassured lawmakers that the department's budget will save the state $400 million by continuing to root out waste, fraud and abuse.

"For eight years, these regulations to catch abusers have been in place, but largely ignored by the Rendell administration," Argall said. "The sad part is that there are elderly, disabled and children in genuine need of government assistance while other individuals continue to illegally obtain benefits, costing taxpayers millions of dollars in fraud and abuse."

Sen. Argall's commission called for improved operations at County Assistances Offices. He continues to work with local assistance offices and constituents to collect ideas to reform DPW, which comprises of over 30 percent of the state's budget. "I continue to receive numerous calls and e-mails from constituents that are genuinely concerned about their tax dollars being abused. This department is finally moving in the right direction and I will continue to offer solutions to help protect hard-earned tax dollars."

Sen. Argall encouraged constituents to e-mail their ideas to reform our state's welfare system to dargall@pasen.gov, or by calling his office toll-free at 1-877-327-4255.