For decades the Circle Food Store store has been an anchor of the 7th Ward community, especially for those whose use SNAP, the government food assistance program. But soon more than 60,000 people across Louisiana could have to go without.A state department decided to tighten up on an already tiny spigot of federal funds in order to.. well.. just to shame the people they've already abused.
The Department of Children & Family Services now says able-bodied SNAP recipients between the ages of 18 and 49 with no children, must find a job or be in a job training program or risk being booted from the benefits program.
Jan Moller, of the Louisiana Budget Project, believes the policy change is going to just cause more problems.
"Food is such a basic thing that people need to live, and I think this is going to create a lot of hardships for people who already have it very hard, who are already struggling to get by everyday," said Moller.
Benefits paid under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, are totally federally funded, so no state budget funds are being saved."No state budget funds are being saved." Hey somebody tell that to David Vitter. He seems to think he's going to fix the state budget by eliminating "food stamp fraud."
Under the change, which went into effect Thursday, able-bodied adults will be required to work no less than 20 hours a week or be enrolled in a federally approved job training program. If the requirement is not met by Jan. 1, the food stamp dollars, which average $194 a month, end. Sonnier said the 20-hour-a-week work requirement can be met by doing approved volunteer work or in a nonpaid job.
Vitter wants a sunset on all tax credits and rebates that exist. This means the Legislature would have to vote to keep such programs in place. In order to save money in the short term, Vitter has said he wants to target food stamp fraud and reduce the number of cars state government uses. He also mentioned getting rid of the solar tax credit.By the way, "food stamp fraud" is not a problem that exists in any meaningful way. But that doesn't stop it from being a perpetual political hobbyhorse for candidates running on a kick-the-poors platform.
Meanwhile, the costly, corruption-ridden "Hollywood South" tax giveaway to film studios will cost the state $180 millon next year. And that's only if the cap the legislature just put on the program actually remains in place. All four of the major candidates running for Governor have declared their intentions to call a special session shortly after taking office. Gambit's preferred candidate, Lt. Governor Mr. Bean, thinks the cap is too low.
So there's your election. The front-running candidate wants to kick the poor when they're down and the press darling wants to give more tax money away in corporate welfare. Only one candidate is serious about tuition relief and Medicaid expansion but nobody.. not even the "usually liberals".. take that guy seriously.
Good job all around, everybody.