Vote on new food stamp requirements slated for todayThe legislature's budget committee is scheduled to vote today on a plan requiring food stamp recipients to undergo job training to receive benefits.
By: By Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
The legislature's budget committee is scheduled to vote today on a plan requiring food stamp recipients to undergo job training to receive benefits.
Budget analysts say the move will cost state government millions.
State taxpayers would eventually have to pay $26 million dollars a year to run the job training program, according to a memo from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB). Despite those costs, state government would see no direct financial gain. That's because food stamp benefits are paid by the federal government.
The LFB estimates the change would end up cutting the number of able-bodied adults without kids who use the program in half, meaning it would drop about 31,000 people. Rep. Cory Mason (D-Racine), who sits on the legislature's budget committee, says if it passes, the state would be spending a lot of money to make thousands of people hungrier.
“Taking their food away isn't going to make the job opportunities or the skills gap any less real in places like Racine or Beloit or other places that are struggling to get back to work. It's just going to make more poor people more hungry.”
Republican budget committee co-chair John Nygren did not return a call yesterday seeking comment on the plan. Governor Scott Walker has billed it as a common-sense step to reduce peoples' dependence on government. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, which opposes the move, says other states have avoided a change like this because of its high bureaucratic costs and its lack of a clear payoff.