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Food Stamp Cuts Could Take Bite Out Of Colorado Economy

U.S. Dept of Agriculture

More than half a million Coloradans who currently receive food stamps will likely see their benefits reduced this fall.

According to a report [.pdf] from the Denver-based advocacy group Colorado Fiscal Institute, families who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, will lose an average of $29 a month when a temporary boost to the program expires Oct. 31st.

Opponents of SNAP point to fraud and waste in the program, as well as spiraling costs, with enrollment up dramatically since the economic downturn. In Colorado, the number of people enrolled has doubled since 2008, from roughly 250,000 to more than half a million currently.

The Colorado Fiscal Institute’s deputy director Kathy White told Colorado News Connection the cuts will mean a loss of roughly $55 million for the state’s economy in 2014.

"It affects more than just the families who are purchasing the food with that benefit,” White said. “I mean if you really think about all of the jobs that go from farm to grocery store to table… All of that chain of economic activity is affected when SNAP benefits are cut."

The report shows starting in November SNAP recipients will have just $1.40 per person to spend for each meal.

Nationwide, the cuts are expected to impact roughly 23 million U.S. households.

Adding to the concern is the prospect of further cuts to SNAP benefits through the Farm Bill. To prevent those cuts, Congress will have to act quickly when it returns from its August recess.

As the host of KUNC’s new program and podcast In the NoCo, I work closely with our producers and reporters to bring context and diverse perspectives to the important issues of the day. Northern Colorado is such a diverse and growing region, brimming with history, culture, music, education, civic engagement, and amazing outdoor recreation. I love finding the stories and voices that reflect what makes NoCo such an extraordinary place to live.
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