Sunday, August 05, 2012

More on Proposed SNAP Cuts (and the Impact on New Mexico)

Back in June, we posted a piece about how cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would affect low-income residents in New Mexico who rely on food stamps.  At that time, the Senate had approved a reduction of  $4.5 billion in SNAP over 10 years in its version of the farm bill, which means that 500,000 households would lose $90 in SNAP benefits.

Since then, the House has approved even more drastic reductions in SNAP: $16.5  billion over ten years. These cuts could lead to 2-3 million people losing SNAP benefits and 280,000 kids losing free school meals—in addition to the 500,000 households losing $90 a month in benefits. Read more about the most recent developments on the farm bill  from Bread for the World's Government Relations analyst Christine Meléndez Ashley.

The Center on Budget Policy Priorities posted information on specific changes proposed in the House bill:

The bill would terminate SNAP eligibility to several million people.  By eliminating categorical eligibility, which over 40 states have adopted, the bill would cut 2 to 3 million low-income people off food assistance.
  • Several hundred thousand low-income children would lose access to free school meals.  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 280,000 children in low-income families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their receipt of SNAP would lose free meals when their families lost SNAP benefits.
  • Some working families would lose access to SNAP because they own a modest car, which they often need to commute to their jobs.  Eliminating categorical eligibility would cause some low-income working households to lose benefits simply because of the value of a modest car they own.  These families would be forced to choose between owning a reliable car and receiving food assistance to help feed their families.  Read full report from the CBPP
Our blog post in June provided information on the possible impact of the cuts on New Mexico, based on USDA data and information from the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.   Since then, we discovered a report from the Center for American Progress (CAP), which offers a state-by-state breakdown. The report , entitled The Economic Consequences of Cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, was published before either house passed its version of the farm bill.   Below is the data from the CAP, based on the numbers in the budget plan proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan.  This is based on Rep. Ryan's earlier proposal to reduce funding for SNAP by $127 billion over 10 years.  He has since proposed a reduction of $134 billion over 10 years Read more from the CBPP.   (Note: The latest statistics from CBPP says the most recent Ryan budget cuts potentially affect 436, 000 households in New Mexico in FY2013)

    The first set of numbers from CAP report is for the nation as a whole. The second set looks at New Mexico. 
  •  Each $1 billion reduction in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program eliminates 13,718 jobs.
  • A 10 percent reduction in the size of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would cause more than 96,000 job losses.
  • These losses would be particularly strong in food-related industries, which would lose as many as 11,000 jobs under a 10 percent cut to the program.
  • Job losses will likely have the greatest impact on younger workers, since they account for a disproportionate share of workers in food-related industries— nearly one-third of grocery employees are under 25, compared to just 14 percent of workers in all industries.
A 10 percent cut in SNAP would mean $62 million less in SNAP payments, 801 fewer jobs, and as many as 38.5 million fewer meals for low-income families in New Mexico.
  • 356,822 New Mexico residents receive supplemental nutrition assistance
  • 20.4 percent live on income below the poverty level
  • 15.4 percent of New Mexico households suffer food insecurity
Here is an interactive Map from the CAP

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