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Trump Budget Signals Trouble for Hungry Minnesotans

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Critics of the Trump budget proposal warn it could reverse efforts to get healthy, local foods to low-income Minnesota families. (Marco Verch/FlickR)
Critics of the Trump budget proposal warn it could reverse efforts to get healthy, local foods to low-income Minnesota families. (Marco Verch/FlickR)
 By Laurie SternContact
February 14, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Trump budget proposal would cut almost $20 billion next year from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), once commonly known as food stamps.

More than 600,000 Minnesotans benefit from SNAP and could be affected, according to Colleen Moriarty, executive director of Hunger Solutions.

"He's willing to back cutting food to the poorest people in our country to come up with enough money to pay for his tax bill, and to pay for additional money that would go to the military," said Moriarty.

The proposal would also cut subsidies to housing and health programs that benefit the poor. President Donald Trump says it will make government more efficient and promote self-sufficiency and hard work.

However, Moriarty worries that the budget proposal lowers the bar for what Congress will find acceptable.

She said the Trump idea for redesigning SNAP will hurt both families who use it and their communities. That's because instead of using their SNAP benefits in local grocery stores, SNAP households will get a box of packaged goods from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"What sense does that make when they can go to their local retailers, when they can frequent the people in their town and spend their SNAP dollars creating economic opportunity at their local level?" she asked. "What sense would it make to deliver them a box of commodities?"

Moriarty said she hopes people will share their thoughts on the budget with their members of Congress, particularly those members of the Minnesota delegation who serve on the Agriculture Committees – Reps. Rick Nolan, Collin Peterson and Timothy Walz in the House, and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.

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