Friday, October 25, 2013

Texas Cutting $NAP in Nov.

Effective November 1, 2013, the amount some Texas residents receive on their "Lone Star Cards" will be reduced by approximately 5%.

The Texas Heath and Human Services Commission (HHS) announced a 5% cut to Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) subsidies. According to Texas HHS spokesperson Linda Edwards Gockel, the funds allocated to SNAP allocations will be cut approximately $11 per person. This is an approximation as each family's individual circumstances may warrant slightly higher or lower subsidies.

SNAP is also commonly called "food stamps". The state of Texas averages approximately $400,000,000.00 a month in federal and state funds disbursed to 3.5 million Texas residents.

In 2009, the so-called "stimulus" increased federal SNAP allocations by 13.6%. The temporary act has expired. After calculating inflation and cost of living adjustments, the stipends will be 5% larger than they would have been without the stimulus act, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With the ARRA expiring, that extra 5% will no longer be disbursed.

For example, a family of 4 will see its SNAP allocation reduced from $668 to $632 a month.

The ARRA has been much maligned by those opposed to Keynesian and socialist economic policies. Many economists more aligned with the thinking of Smith, Hayek, Freidman, and Laffer have found little to no benefit from the ARRA to the US Economy. Some even blame it for the slow, marginal recovery and the continuing high unemployment rates.

Today, nation-wide, there are a greater number of personnel receiving SNAP subsidies than there were just 5 years ago. Texas HHS tracks SNAP participation with a goal of reducing the number of personnel dependent upon the subsidies. Since 2005, the reduction rate in Texas has been approximately -47.8% for FY13 (ending Sept. 30).

The 5% reduction may alleviate some of the burden on taxpayers created by the increased dependency upon government subsidies.