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Hochul’s Budget Calls for an Increase in SNAP Benefits

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Hochul’s Budget Calls for an Increase in SNAP Benefits

Hochul’s Budget Calls for an Increase in SNAP Benefits. A bipartisan coalition of New York lawmakers is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to consider a substantial increase in the minimum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to $100 statewide. Currently set at $23 per month, the legislators argue that the existing minimum is insufficient to meet the needs of struggling households.

SNAP Benefits Fall: A Call for Action

Following the expiration of emergency allotments during the pandemic, SNAP benefits were reduced to a minimum of $23 per month. Nearly 3 million New York residents receiving SNAP benefits experienced an average monthly decrease of $151 after the emergency program concluded in March.

Bipartisan Support for Hunger Relief

Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, a co-author of the letter to Governor Hochul, emphasizes the bipartisan support for addressing hunger across the state. The legislators are calling for increased investment to ensure that no New Yorker, including children, goes to bed hungry.

Legislators Rally for Executive Budget Proposal

The letter urges Governor Hochul to include the proposed increase in the SNAP minimum benefit in her executive budget proposal, due in January. Notably, the request has garnered support from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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Public Support and Geographic Disparities

Citing a recent Siena poll, legislators underscore widespread public support for the proposed increase in SNAP benefits. The survey revealed that 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 65 percent of independents and other voters back the initiative.

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State Senator Rachel May, co-author of the letter, draws attention to geographical disparities, emphasizing that cities like Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse have among the highest percentages of SNAP recipients, according to census data.

Rising Food Insecurity and Legislative Response

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey indicate an 87 percent increase in the number of New Yorkers facing food insecurity from July 2021 to July of the current year. The legislators argue that an increased SNAP benefit would significantly reduce food insecurity in communities across the state.

Rural Challenges and Economic Impact

Highlighting a report from the office of state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, legislators address the particular challenges faced by rural residents. Issues such as difficulties in accessing food due to long distances to grocery stores and a lack of public transportation are exacerbated in rural regions. The legislators contend that increasing SNAP benefits for these families will contribute to more food-secure households.

Economic Benefits and Comparison with New Jersey

The letter to Governor Hochul emphasizes that SNAP benefits not only support low-income families but also contribute to local economic benefits. Lawmakers argue that every dollar invested in the food stamps program generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in local economic benefits.

Pointing to a recent move by New Jersey, where the minimum benefit was increased to $95 per month, legislators advocate for New York to follow suit.

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Legislative Proposals Beyond SNAP Increase

In addition to advocating for increased SNAP benefits, legislators highlight other proposals aimed at addressing food insecurity in New York. These include universal school meals and ending the subminimum wage for restaurant-tipped workers.

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Assemblywoman González-Rojas stresses the need to address these issues seriously during the upcoming state budget cycle, aligning with the governor’s vision for a safer, more affordable, and livable New York.

Wide Support for Additional Measures

The legislators cite bipartisan support from the Siena poll for proposals such as providing school meals to students regardless of income and ensuring all tipped workers are paid at or above the minimum wage. These measures are seen as integral to creating a safer and more equitable state.

Challenges in Benefit Distribution

The Times Union reported in September that benefits distributed to 1.86 million children for disruptions to school lunch programs in the 2021-2022 school year and summer of 2022 faced challenges. More than 740,000 children who received the funds did not get SNAP funds, and many families had not spent the money.

Conclusion

he legislators are urging swift action to address these pressing issues and create a more food-secure and equitable New York.

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