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The Wrong Approach for Missouri

You may have seen stories this week by the Kansas City Star, Beacon or Post-Dispatch about a proposal from Gov. Nixon’s administration to “turn away federal food stamp aid intended to help states hurt most by the recession.”

We’re concerned that this change in policy will hurt struggling families around the state and slow our state’s economic recovery. Why? Because ”last year, Missouri ranked 7th worst in the nation in food insecurity. For those more extreme hunger cases, classified as ‘very low food security,’ Missouri had the second highest rate in the country.”   And because proposed food stamp cuts from House Republicans in Washington “could tip the balance for [Missouri food banks], already struggling to meet demand.” Because “the cupboards are bare; they are truly bare.” 

Here’s what the Missouri Association for Social Welfare wrote yesterday about the state of hunger in Missouri right now:

The new proposal to limit food stamps for some jobless Missourians is estimated to impact more than 100 Missouri counties. Missouri would be one of only six states to reject available federal benefits which currently bring millions of dollars to Missouri grocers and their surrounding communities, while also alleviating hunger.

For the past twelve years, with both Democratic and Republican governors, Missouri has consistently sought to protect jobless Missourians from hunger, applying for the broadest exemption possible from application of the very harsh food stamp time limit provisions in the 1996 welfare reform law. That law limited food stamps for able-bodied adults without dependents to three months out of every three years, unless in an approved work activity for 20 hours per week, but put no money into job training. Most states have applied for relief from application of the law since its implementation for areas with high unemployment, and “statewide waivers” have been allowed and are common since 2007 as the recession has hampered job stability and expansion.

The Missouri State Hunger Atlas (2013) shows that Missouri has not yet recovered from recession, as food insufficiency surged to 16.7%, surpassing the national average of 14%. Currently, 1.3 million Missourians don’t have enough to eat, causing Missouri to rank in the Top Ten of Food Insecure States.

The Governor’s proposal isn’t good for struggling Missourians or for the state. So we’re encouraging you to read up on the proposal with the links below and then share your thoughts with Governor Nixon below.  

@ProgressMO

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