By Tim Morrissey
Wisconsin News Connection
Nearly 900,000 Wisconsinites saw a reduction in their FoodShare assistance program Nov. 1.
A temporary boost to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP – called FoodShare in Wisconsin – expired, and Tamarine Cornelius, a research analyst for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, said it’s a tangible blow.
“It’s going to be that much harder for them to put food on the table,” she said. “Especially hard-hit are going to be children, because such a big share of the people who got SNAP benefits are kids.”
Cornelius estimated it will affect about 450,000 Wisconsin children.
The cut amounts to $89 million in Wisconsin in fiscal 2014, which translates to a cut of around $29 a month to a family of three. Cornelius said it not only will affect the families, but the local economy will take a hit, too.
“The families who get SNAP benefits take those benefits and spend it right away at the local grocery store buying food, and that money gets injected into the local economy,” she said. “So any time we see a pullback of that, that means that those local businesses, the small businesses, and those local economies are going to take a hit, too.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that every $1 of SNAP benefits generates about $1.70 in economic activity.
Cornelius said many people think this is just a Milwaukee-area issue, but it isn’t.
“There’s a lot of families all across Wisconsin who benefit from the food assistance that SNAP provides, and who are going to be feeling the effects of these cuts, these reductions in SNAP,” she said. “Some people might think, ‘Well, this is something that’s in southeast Wisconsin and the rest of us aren’t going to feel it,’ which isn’t the case at all because many families – particularly in rural areas of Wisconsin – often benefit from SNAP.”
According to Cornelius, many of the children affected by the cut live in rural counties in northern Wisconsin.