FROM THE MISSISSIPPI ECONOMIC POLICY CENTER
JACKSON, Miss. — Beginning today, 664,000 people in Mississippi will see their food assistance benefits cut, when a temporary boost, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) expires.
Nationwide, the cuts will affect 41 million Americans including 22 million children. For a family of three in Mississippi, that cut will mean a reduction of $29 each month.
“The small increase in SNAP benefits provided an important stepping stone for thousands of struggling families in Mississippi during the deep economic recession and long recovery, empowering them to keep food on the table as they sought employment, sent their children off to school, and got themselves back on their feet,” stated Jessica Shappley of the Mississippi Economic Policy Center.
In addition to helping to feed hungry families, SNAP is one of the fastest, most effective ways to stimulate a struggling economy. Every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity.
“In fiscal year 2013 alone over three quarters of a billion dollars in SNAP benefits were redeemed at Mississippi small businesses such as local grocery stores. The cut means there are fewer dollars to spend for local economies. These benefits do more than put food on the tables of low income Mississippi families, they support businesses and put people to work. Statewide 3,400 small businesses received SNAP payments in 2013 ,” said Shappley.
On top of the cuts going into effect today, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation cutting another $40 billion from SNAP, potentially eliminating assistance for at least 52,000 people in Mississippi and nearly 4 million nationwide. The House-passed plan for SNAP coupled with today’s cuts would deal a significant blow to millions of Americans and small businesses that continue to struggle to make ends meet as the economy continues to slowly recover.
“SNAP has been a powerful tool in helping to keep families out of poverty during the long economic recession and recovery,” stated Shappley. “It has also been an important source of revenue for small businesses that employ thousands of Mississippians. Congress should not further reduce this already modest assistance.”