from the New Mexico News Connection - A statewide news service for New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM – A number organizations in New Mexico have added their names to a congressional petition that outlines concerns about a plan to fundamentally change the food stamp program, now called SNAP, and cut its funding by about 20 percent.
A number of organizations in New Mexico are serving up a petition to Congress following a House vote to cut funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance or "SNAP" Program by about 20 percent. As director of the New Mexico Association of Food Banks, Kathy Komoll says those cuts, to the program once known as food stamps, would drive more people to charitable programs...that are already stretched to the limit, "We have trouble meeting the need as it is and frequently, there are times of the year or times of the month where some people have to be turned away. And so, further taxing that emergency food system could have a catastrophic impact in some communities."
An analysis done by Capitol Report New Mexico shows that more than one in five New Mexicans uses the SNAP program, giving New Mexico the second-highest usage rate in the nation.
The House debate on the cuts included charges that the government program has grown out of control and can't be sustained. Ellen Vollinger with the Food Research and Action Center disagrees. She says SNAP may be government-run, but its private-sector partnerships deliver services very effectively, "It uses regular retail outlets. Government hasn’t had to set up its own set of government stores, or government-operated trucking. It’s very efficient, in the sense of being able to partner with the regular retailer community."
Vollinger points out that many economists have identified SNAP as a public program that returns the biggest bang for the buck – generating almost two dollars in local economic activity for every federal dollar spent.
See a list of organizations that signed the petition at http://frac.org/pdf/snap_blockgrant_letter_june2011.pdf
Richard Alan reporting, firstname.lastname@example.org