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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s move to preserve food stamps for some 50,000 state residents is being called “perverse” (but legal) by a critic who sees Malloy’s maneuver as an end run around the new farm bill.
Under the bill, food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP, is tied to heating assistance. If heating assistance funding is increased, that qualifies the household for SNAP. Fellow Democrat New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Pennsylvania’s Republican Gov. Tom Corbett have also increased Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding to trigger food stamp funding. Other states are considering it.
Critics, who expected to save $8.6 billion over ten years under the new farm bill, don’t like the moves to maintain food stamp spending. “States [are] gaming the system,” Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) the Washington Post quoted. “We didn’t expect that, or we would’ve written it in the language to prohibit it,” said Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), chairman of the House Agriculture subcommittee that oversees food stamps and nutrition aid. The move, though legal, is “perverse, just perverse,” he said.
Malloy shifted $1.4 million into LIHEAP to save food stamp money. “The governor’s directive to expend $1.4 million in available federal energy assistance funding will preserve approximately $66.6 million annually in SNAP benefits for households in Connecticut,” Malloy’s budget director Ben Barnes told CT Mirror.