The Coastal Packet: Down East Notes

Thursday, May 7

Down East Notes

Daily Kos - In the last year alone, Maine has kicked 9,000 people off the welfare rolls. Now, Maine legislators have proposed new guidelines that would forbid SNAP beneficiaries from buying "junk foods." The idea is to get people on food stamps to eat healthier, but it is also part of a troubling trend of state legislatures shaming food stamp recipients, like this bill in Missouri that would forbid recipients from buying fish and steak.

As Think Progress notes, the term "junk food" has broad implications:
The legislation LePage supports claims that “the purchase of unhealthy products is antithetical to the purpose of the [food stamps] program.” But the definition of “unhealthy” that the bill uses is quite broad, and would prohibit the purchase of a range of groceries that are not exempt from sales tax under Maine law. That means alcohol, soda, unprescribed dietary supplements, seltzer and bottled water, sweets, “and prepared food.”
The law goes even further than the tax code to prohibit food stamps from being used for bulk purchases of groceries that could be considered “prepared food” if they were bought individually. According to state tax guidelines, that includes packaged deli meats, large jars of spaghetti sauce, and pickles, among other things.

Sale of Portland Press Herald

The new PPH publisher

A man in an animal-skinned sleeping bag on a camping trip in 1888. 

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