Trump Budget Would Shift Food Assistance Costs to New Jersey

The State Lacks Resources to Pick Up the Slack, So The End Result Would Be More Hunger

New Jersey would have to come up with about $300 million a year to cover the lost federal funding for food stamps, costing the Garden State an estimated $2.1 billion over 10 years, under President Trump’s budget proposal, according to a report released today.

The budget proposal would shift a significant share of the cost of paying for food assistance to states and allow states to – for the first time ­– cut benefits, according to the report from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The proposal seriously threatens the success the Supplemental Nutrition and Assistance Program’s (SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps) has had in reducing severe hunger and malnutrition.

“This proposal threatens to dramatically increase the number of New Jerseyans at risk of going hungry,” said Adele LaTourette, director of the New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition. “In a nation of this much wealth, that would be unconscionable. New Jersey’s Congressional delegation must reject any proposal that puts New Jersey families, kids, seniors, and people with disabilities at risk of not getting enough to eat.”

Historically, SNAP benefits have been financed exclusively with federal funds to ensure that regional disparities in hunger, poverty and resources are properly addressed. This has helped ensure that low-income households have access to adequate food no matter where they might live.

The President’s budget would end this longstanding and successful approach by forcing states to cover 10 percent of SNAP benefit costs beginning in 2020, and increasing that share to 25 percent by 2023. The proposal would cut federal SNAP funding by $116 billion over a decade.

“New Jersey is in dire fiscal condition, and its safety net is already in tatters. It’d be unable to absorb such significant cost shifts without cutting SNAP benefits and taking other steps that could increase hunger and hardship,” said Jon Whiten, Vice President of New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Budgets are moral documents that reflect our priorities as a society. We need our members of Congress to stand up and say: Increased hunger and poverty go against my values, and I won’t support a federal spending plan that guts food assistance.”

And, these added costs would come on top hundreds of billions of dollars in additional costs shifts to states both in the President’s budget. In total, the President’s budget would shift about $453 billion annually to states and localities once the cuts were fully implemented in 2027.

At the same time, the President is proposing massive tax cuts largely for the wealthy and corporations that would likely cost several trillion dollars over the coming decade.

Under the proposal, an estimated 51,000 New Jersey residents would lose even the most meager food stamp benefit, according to CBPP statistics.

In New Jersey alone, more than 800,000 people rely on this critical nutrition assistance. Most work – often juggling multiple jobs – and still can’t make ends meet because of low-wage jobs that offer few, if any, benefits.

The average SNAP benefit in New Jersey is a meager $142 per household. Research shows that every SNAP dollar is spent quickly and directly impacts the local economy by a multiplier of almost 2 to 1.

The New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition is traveling to Washington, D.C., this week to meet with the state’s Congressional delegation and educate them on how harmful this proposed cut would be.

“We are hopeful that our representatives will protect New Jersey’s most vulnerable residents and take steps to protect this vital piece of our safety net,” LaTourette said.

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