Republican Bill adds Insult to Injury to Wisconsin’s Low-income Population Receiving Food Assistance Benefits

 

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A Senate committee of the Wisconsin Legislature held a public hearing Wednesday (Jan. 15 ) on a bill that requires two-thirds of Food Share benefits (food stamps) be spent on healthy food. The bill, which was authored by Rep. Dean Kaufert (R-Neenah) and has already been passed by the Wisconsin Assembly, requires that two-thirds of the Food Share benefits an individual or family receives in Wisconsin must be spent on “good, healthy staples”.

Democrats and anti-hunger advocates questioned why just people using Food Share are being told what to eat. Matt Stienstra from Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee said that focusing on recipients stigmatizes people in the program.

The Hunger Task Force is also concerned the changes would complicate the benefits program and negatively affect the elderly, many of whom are already hesitant to use Food Share.

Under the proposed legislation, the state would seek a federal waiver for a pilot program changing how Food Share dollars are spent. Similar proposals in other states have been rejected by the federal government.

The bill adds insult to injury to nearly 900,000 people in Wisconsin who received a cut in their food assistance benefits under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) last  November. Those cuts reduced the food assistance by $89 million annually for Wisconsin’s financially struggling families, making it increasingly difficult for Wisconsin’s low-income population, including 1 out of 3 Wisconsin children (452,000 children), according to the Wisconsin Budget Project.. Children make up a large share of those who get help from SNAP in Wisconsin.

Access to full service grocery stores can also present problems for low-income FoodShare recipients buying “good healthy staples” because of their lack of access to an automobile or their not having such stores within reasonable walking distance or on affordable mass transit routes.  All in all, this bill appears to represent a mean-spirited attack on many families and individuals who are already suffering from poverty and a reduction in their FoodShare benefits in Wisconsin, including many of the state’s minorities and growing elderly populations.

 

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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