Will Proposed Cuts to SNAP Hurt Missississippi?By Daniel Cherry | Published 23 Jul 2012 07:00am |
The U.S. House of Representatives is looking to cut more than $16 billion from the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP. MPB's Daniel Cherry has more on how that could affect Mississippi.
More Mississippi residents use SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, per capita than any other state. David Noble with the Mississippi Department of Human Services, who administers SNAP, thinks cuts will hurt their budget...and that means the state won't be able to reach as many low-income residents.
"It would reduce dollars that are available for outreach efforts to get those people on the rolls, if we're going to serve and be serving 100% of eligible individuals."
Noble says currently, 71% of eligible Mississippians are on SNAP. Estimates say for every $1.00 the government spends on the program, it creates $1.75. Ed Sivak, Director of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center believes any cuts would hurt the state's economy.
"SNAP payments go directly to local businesses. It goes to local grocers. It goes to other places that sell food. This program supports local business in Mississippi, and by extension, it supports a lot of jobs. If we start cutting this program, it's going to affect those businesses, it's going to affect jobs."
And SNAP usage is on the rise. State officials say spending on the program has doubled in Mississippi from this time four years ago. Mississippi's 3rd District Congressman Gregg Harper believes, even though Mississippi benefits from the program...cuts to the federal budget are necessary.
"We're dealing with our 4th year of trillion dollar plus deficits and we have to be able to do things to adjust some of these programs so that they'll be available for people who are going to need them in the future."
The Senate's proposal would cut $4.5 billion from SNAP...it's likely a compromise will be made on how much to actually cut from the program.
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