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Trump Budget: Deep Cuts to SNAP Could Affect Thousands in MA

If the proposed Trump budget cuts are maintained, it's estimated that thousands more Massachusetts residents could lose some options for nutritious foods. (Pixabay)
If the proposed Trump budget cuts are maintained, it's estimated that thousands more Massachusetts residents could lose some options for nutritious foods. (Pixabay)
May 31, 2017

BOSTON - Even a 25 percent cut to SNAP - enough to leave thousands more hungry in Massachusetts - can't make the White House budget math add up, according to a new analysis.

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, President Trump's first budget would slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps) by nearly $200 billion. For the Commonwealth, said Pat Baker, a senior policy analyst with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, that would mean about $297 million less a year in food aid for families.

"Either we're cutting off thousands of families and elders, disabled households; or we are reducing SNAP by 25 to 30 percent if the president's budget goes through," she said. "This is devastating."

White House budget officials have argued that the cuts are needed to reduce the budget deficit by spurring economic growth. However, the analysis from the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities found that the Trump administration is overstating what the plan would do and using "fake math." The center noted that Congress will have the final word on most budget items.

Baker said she hopes Gov. Charlie Baker will reach out to the National Governors' Association to protest the cost-shifting of need-based nutrition programs onto the states. Jacob Leibenluft, senior adviser with the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities, called the budget "Robin Hood in reverse," saying it steals from the poor to give to the rich.

"Historically deep cuts in nutrition programs and programs for people with disabilities," he said, "and at the same time, historically large tax cuts for the wealthiest and large corporations."

He described it as a budget illusion - a magic trick to hide tax cuts for the wealthy.

"Even with incredibly deep cuts to programs that support health and nutrition, they can't get even close to a balanced budget," he said, "and this really hides that basic fact."

Lieb3enluft said the SNAP cuts would land hard on working families in areas that supported Trump.

The report's state numbers are online at cbpp.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA