County Executive Gorski broke new ground for welfare reform when President Clinton agreed that local governments will need more financial help to motivate and train the hard-core unemployed before they reach their five-year limit on welfare.
Gorski said the president and Hillary Rodham Clinton were sympathetic in private conversations following Wednesday's appearance at the Marine Midland Arena when he told them that the 30 percent reduction of welfare here under national welfare reform was the easy part of a huge task.
"We are down to a very difficult population in terms of removal from welfare," Gorski said. "Well, I think the president was sympathetic to that. I said we need support services in child care, transportation and health benefits for those we are trying to remove from welfare."
Gorski's warning that the big task for welfare reform lies ahead reflects an underlying concern among social agencies about what happens when the longtime destitute reach the five-year cutoff in federal aid.
Worries are that homelessness will shoot up or local taxpayers will have to pay a huge cost for a safety net. A local chief of a drug counseling service predicts that addiction and child neglect will rise with hopelessness.
Gorski said he latched on to the president's State of the Union observation that welfare reform has greatly reduced the rolls.
"I said, 'Mr. President, you highlighted the fact you reduced welfare nationally. We've been doing that for three years. Now the job is going to be getting a lot more difficult.' "
Gorski said he told Clinton that it would be unfair to sanction localities, as the law allows, for not ending support to individuals within five years, unless a lot of help is provided to the counties.