MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Nearly 900,000 Wisconsin residents are seeing cuts to their food-stamp benefits, now that a temporary boost that was part of the 2009 federal stimulus law has expired.
Cuts to the FoodShare program will total $89 million in Wisconsin between last Friday and Sept. 30, the Wisconsin State Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1b2ZymY ). The left-leaning think tank Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said an average household of four will see a $36 cut per month, from $668 to $632.
"For a large segment of Wisconsinites who are living paycheck to paycheck and still reeling from the recession, these cuts will be a harsh blow," said Jon Peacock, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.
Most of those affected will be young people, including about 452,000 children — about one in three Wisconsin children, according to a report from the Wisconsin Budget Project.
The hardest-hit areas are expected to be Milwaukee County and rural northern counties — including Menominee, Adams, Sawyer, Burnett and Washburn — where a majority of kids received food stamps last year, the report said.
The cuts are happening because a temporary boost in benefits for all food-stamp recipients, included in the 2009 stimulus, expired Thursday.
President Barack Obama and some members of Congress have proposed enacting legislation to address the situation, but the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said such action seemed unlikely. Deeper cuts also could be on the way as Congress debates the future of the Farm Bill.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin said the reductions in food assistance "shine a bright spotlight on the need to protect funding" for food stamps. The Wisconsin Democrat also voiced concern about cuts being pushed by the Republican-controlled House.
"I have strongly opposed the cuts made in the House bill that would impact children, seniors, and families across our state who are facing a constant struggle against hunger," Baldwin said in an email.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said Thursday he was co-sponsoring legislation to extend the temporary cuts for one year.
Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj