Federal Cuts Hurt Thousands of Minnesota Families, Children

St. Paul, Minnesota, August 2, 2013 - 556,000 Minnesotans - 10 percent of the state’s population - will see cuts in critical nutrition assistance this fall, according to a report from the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The cuts are due to the expiration of a temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, known as Food Support in Minnesota).

The report, SNAP Benefits Will Be Cut for All Participants in November 2013, found that all of the more than 47 million Americans, including 22 million children, who receive SNAP will see their food assistance reduced when the temporary increase expires on October 31. Policymakers included the modest boost in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to strengthen the economy and ease hardship.

“This small increase in Food Support benefits has helped struggling Minnesota families stay afloat during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression,” said Minnesota Budget Project Deputy Director Christina Wessel. “This modest assistance provides a lifeline to those who are struggling to find work, or are working at jobs that do not pay them enough to put food on the table.”

In addition to helping feed hungry families, SNAP is one of the fastest, most effective ways to stimulate a struggling economy, according to the report. Every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity.

“SNAP has never experienced a reduction in benefits that impacts all participants, including 22 million children nationwide,” said Wessel. “Given the fact that benefits are already inadequate for many families, these cuts will be particularly painful.”

On top of these across-the-board cuts, the U.S. House of Representatives recently defeated legislation that would have cut $20 billion from SNAP, eliminating food assistance for nearly 2 million people.

This could leave many families and their children without assistance to put food on the table when they need it most.

The House could potentially reconsider these cuts, or even deeper cuts, in the coming weeks.

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