Shankland Jointly Announces Legislation to Prevent Food Stamp Cuts
For the City-Times
Representative Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point and Representative Evan Goyke from Milwaukee, in conjunction with Hunger Task Force and the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association, announced Thursday legislation they have introduced to protect low-income Wisconsinites from the 2014 Farm Bill’s impending cuts to food stamps.
Wisconsin participates in the federal “Heat and Eat” program, which allows low-income households to receive a boost in FoodShare benefits if they receive at least $1 in low-income energy assistance. The 2014 Farm Bill raised the Heat and Eat energy assistance minimum from $1 to $20 per household, effectively cutting FoodShare benefits for 255,000 Wisconsin households.
“Wisconsin should not stand idly by as Congress makes spending cuts on the backs of our most vulnerable residents,” said Rep. Shankland. “A family already living on the poverty line simply cannot sustain $100 a month in cuts to their grocery budget. Wisconsin shouldn’t make them choose between putting food on the table or gas in their tank to get to work. Wisconsin’s working families deserve action. That’s why governors in half of the 16 states targeted by the Heat and Eat cuts have already acted to stop these harmful cuts.”
Rep. Shankland and Rep. Goyke’s legislation will raise the annual amount of federal dollars Wisconsin allocates for Heat and Eat assistance from $1 to $21 per household. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, allocating $5.4 million of federal funds to the Heat and Eat program would preserve $276.2 million in FoodShare benefits for Wisconsin families. No state money would be used.
“By providing just $5.4 million federal dollars in low-income energy assistance, our state would save $276.3 million in food stamp benefits for Wisconsin families,” said Rep. Shankland. “That’s money that will be immediately reinvested in the community to put food on the table, prevent hunger, and support local jobs.”
The State Assembly has now adjourned without taking action on the bill, but Governor Walker retains the authority to implement the same measure with an Executive Order. Both legislators have requested a meeting with Governor Walker to ask him to use this authority.
“Governor Walker, I ask you to please remember the streets where you were educated, worked, and where you first ran for office. You know the communities that will be hurt the most; stand with your neighbors not with Congress. If the Legislature won’t act, please use your Executive Order power to ensure your neighbors don’t go hungry,” said Representative Goyke.