For Immediate Release: 5/24/17
Contact: Celia Cole, 512-590-0659 or [email protected]
Austin - Details emerged late Tuesday on the policy changes through which the Trump administration hopes to cut $193 Billion from federal nutrition programs.
The devastating impact of proposed cuts to SNAP (aka food stamps) and food bank funding would be keenly felt in Texas.
The largest change, representing $116 Billion of the $193 Billion in cuts, would shift a quarter of the burden of SNAP funding to states in exchange for flexibility to tighten eligibility rules or lower benefits levels to reduce program spending. This cost shift would force Texas to find $1.3 Billion in annual state funding for SNAP, or find ways to cut people from the program.
While this massive transfer of responsibility was described in just three lines of the administration’s budget documents, advocates agreed it would represent the end of SNAP’s entitlement structure.
“Making Texas responsible for more than a quarter of this critical program would be a disaster for hungry families,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “There would be no guarantee that funds would be available when the program is most needed, such as during economic downturns. There would be no national standards to ensure the program provides adequate benefits, or reaches everyone in need. Theoretically, it would even be possible for Texas to leave the program.”
In addition to this massive change, the Trump Administration proposed eliminating a popular option in SNAP known as ‘categorical eligibility,’ which states have used to streamline program administration. Eliminating this option would cut off thousands of working Texans who rely on this nutrition assistance to bridge the gap between their earnings and expenses.
Among other changes, the administration also proposed:
- Eliminating the minimum SNAP benefit of sixteen dollars per month, resulting in a $16 Million decrease in the benefits of 121,000 Texans, most of whom are seniors;
- Forcing food retailers to pay to participate in SNAP, which could exacerbate the state’s ‘food desert’ problems; and
- Reducing federal funding for food banks by 9 percent.
“We call on every member of the Texas Congressional delegation to reject these reckless and cruel proposals,” said Cole. “Our federal nutrition programs work, we are proud of them, and any attempt to dismantle them will inevitably lead to more hunger in Texas and the nation.”
Feeding Texas leads a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas.