I read with interest the recent article ("New law Â» Agency tallies money saved due to aid-seekers declining to undergo screening," Tribune, Sept. 5) which indicated that in the past year the state of Utah has saved over $369,000 by screening potential welfare recipients for substance abuse.
I will not debate the social and political pros and cons of such a program. I think there is an argument to be made either way. However, if one considers your recent extensive reporting on the vast increase in the homeless population around downtown Salt Lake City, specifically in Pioneer Park, the question becomes whether there is a cause and effect.
In other words, has the money apparently saved by such a program directly led to the increase in homelessness, thereby costing the state funds in law enforcement, sanitation, homeless shelters, and lost revenue due to an adverse impact on tourism?
One must consider all such variables in analyzing statistics, which can be manipulated to the advantage of those by whom the statistics are created.