The Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services warns that unless more funding is approved in the special session, that the food stamps program will be shut down.
The money on SNAP cards comes from the feds, but the state has to foot much of the administrative bill, and the current budget leaves no money for it. Secretary Marketa Walters says one in five Louisianans are at risk of going hungry.
“There is not a person listening to this today that does not know somebody that is receiving SNAP benefits, now they may not know it because people usually don’t brag about it.”
The department is currently set for $34 million in cuts, which the Secretary says would have to be absorbed by SNAP administrators because the only other services that could be cut would shut down child welfare services. Walters says 64% of people who receive SNAP benefits are either children, disabled, or the elderly, with another 27% being the working poor who earn a paycheck that’s not enough to feed their families. She says the loss of this program would be a disaster.
“You are going to be taking food away from a ten-year-old child that lives down the street, we are going to have fragile families because parents can’t feed their children.”
The feds currently pump $1.4 billion dollars in federal SNAP dollars into the state every year, which Walters says ends up being spent at one of 4,500 businesses like grocery stores and gas stations. The Secretary says that kind of economic loss would ripple throughout Louisiana’s economy.
“It’s about a $2.5 billion impact into this state. There will be 25,000 jobs that will go away we will lay off 1,000 people in DCFS.”