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2012-5

Resolution on Reauthorization of Federal Funding for Nutrition and Anti-Hunger Programs

REPRESENTATIVE ANNA TOVAR (AZ) INTRODUCED AUG. 2012 MEETING (RATIFIED)

WHEREAS unemployment is at 8.2% and the most recent Census poverty statistics show that the poverty rate is at its second highest point in 45 years and highest in 30 years.

WHEREAS millions of Americans, and a significant number of Latino households, continue to confront food insecurity every day; and

WHEREAS the reauthorization of the “Farm Bill” by Congress is being considered either this or next year, and current proposals extend farming subsidies at the expense of funding for the SNAP program, otherwise known as food stamps; and

WHEREAS the political rhetoric has targeted the SNAP program due to the large number of enrollees in since 2008.

WHEREAS the Congressional Budget Office projects that SNAP costs will drop as the economy recovers. By 2019, they’ll go back to the levels they were at in 1995 and after that, SNAP will grow no faster than the economy, which is the key measure of whether or not a program is contributing to our deficit; and

WHEREAS the notion that we have a runaway SNAP program is false; and

WHEREAS nearly 75% of SNAP participants are in families with children and more than 25% of participants are in households with seniors or people with disabilities; and

WHEREAS cutting SNAP would hurt our economy. SNAP is an important public-private partnership - SNAP benefits are spent in local communities at businesses ranging from supermarkets to farmers markets. So cutting SNAP doesn’t just hurt the poor, it hurts business too; and

WHEREAS the use of SNAP benefits is one of the fastest, most effective forms of economic stimulus because they get money into the economy quickly. SNAP helps maintain demand for food during slow economic periods; and

WHEREAS estimates from Moody’s Analytics show that in our weak economy, every $1 increase in SNAP benefits generates $1.72 in economic activity. Also, CBO rated an increase in SNAP benefits as one of the two most cost-effective of all spending and tax options for boosting growth and jobs in a weak economy; and

WHEREAS the requirements and restrictions in eligibility for a number of federal countercyclical programs have dampened Hispanic participation of programs such as SNAP;

WHEREAS states like Kansas have created onerous restrictions to participation by requiring registrants to not have any out of status immigrants residing in the household, even if they are not applicants; and

WHEREAS the authorization of the SNAP program continues to limit eligibility to immigrants with less than five years as Legal Permanent Residents, therefore limiting access to many immigrant households suffering food insecurity; and

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislatures (NHCSL) urges Congress to reauthorize the so-called Farm Bill only if it includes sufficient funding for the SNAP program in order to ensure continued participation and assistance to households suffering from food insecurity; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NHCSL supports eligibility for SNAP benefits to all legal immigrant households and all immigrant children and elderly; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that NHCSL will advocate this policy view through appropriate means and a copy of this Resolution will be transmitted to the leadership of the Committees of jurisdiction in Congress, the Department of Agriculture, White House, and organizations that advocate similar views.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON AUGUST 25, 2012, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA AND RATIFIED AT THE NHCSL 2012 ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO ON NOVEMBER 17, 2012.

Sponsored by: Representative Anna Tovar (AZ)