The Coastal Packet: The true cost of LePage's food stamp plan

Friday, June 24

The true cost of LePage's food stamp plan

Huffington :Post - Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is putting vulnerable people in his state at risk with his food stamp crusade, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said .

In a recent letter to the Obama administration, LePage said that if the federal government won’t let him stop Mainers from using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program debit cards to buy candy and soda, then the state will wash its hands of the SNAP program altogether and let the federal government deal with it.

USDA spokesman Matt Herrick says the agency can’t just step in and do the state’s job of distributing the federal benefit to low-income individuals and families.

“We don’t have the authority or the funding to administer SNAP at the state level,” Herrick told The Huffington Post.

In other words, if the state government won’t provide nutrition assistance in Maine, no one will. Such a situation would be unprecedented.

“So what this means in real terms, for real-world people, is that children suffer, they don’t have adequate nutrition,” Herrick said. “There are about 100,000 families in Maine who depend on the program, and they’re no different than anyone else, and they shouldn’t be penalized or threatened with greater hardship.”

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said said it’s “laughable” that the Obama administration doesn’t have the resources to run its own program.

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