The Coastal Packet: LePage rage turns to food stamps

Tuesday, June 21

LePage rage turns to food stamps

Press Herald - In a letter sent late last week to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the governor threatened that if the USDA won’t allow Maine to ban the purchase of certain foods – sugar-sweetened drinks and candy – he will end the state’s administration of the program.

“It’s time for the federal government to wake up and smell the energy drinks,” LePage wrote. “Doubtful that it will, I will be pursuing options to implement reform unilaterally, or cease Maine’s administration of the food stamp program altogether. You maintain such a broken program that I do not want my name attached to it.”

SNAP, a food assistance program available to low-income households, is entirely funded at the federal level, but states administer the monthly benefits to individuals and assume some of those administrative costs. The program also allows states some flexibility over how to administer the program, although it’s not clear if a state can choose not to administer the program as LePage suggested. A USDA spokesperson could not provide answers to emailed questions about that Tuesday.

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