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Report: SNAP cuts would hurt Ohio

• Updated Sep 7, 2017 at 11:48 PM

Low-paying industries are growing fast in Ohio, with eight of the state’s top 13 occupations paying median wages low enough for workers supporting a family of three to qualify for federal food aid.

Ten percent of all Ohio workers — more than 500,000 people — participate in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). They work at places like Target, Kroger and the Cleveland Clinic.

Both the House Budget Committee and President Trump have proposed federal budget plans that slash funding for SNAP and shift huge costs onto the states while cutting taxes for the wealthy and corporations. Trump’s proposal would cut SNAP by $193 billion over 10 years, which would cost Ohio $4.2 billion during that time.

The House proposal is vague, but based on their 2017 proposal, it would cut SNAP by $150 billion nationally with $125 billion in cost shifts to states through a block grant, according to a report from Policy Matters Ohio.

The report contains Congressional district by district data on how many households receive SNAP, number of families receiving SNAP, and the percentage of families with at least member working.

Two-thirds of all Ohioans receiving SNAP are people not expect to work: children, elderly people or disabled adults.

For an able-bodied working age adult to receive SNAP they must be working at least 20 hours per week or be taking care of a dependent child or elderly or disabled adults.

Congressional district data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that in every Congressional district, at least 68 percent of families using SNAP had at least one member who was working.

In Republican Rep. Jim Jordan’s 4th District, which includes Norwalk, 37,079 households receive SNAP assistance. Among them are 24,455 families — 74.4 percent of them with one or more members who worked during the past 12 months.

In fellow Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs’ 7th District, which includes Willard, 34,672 households receive SNAP assistance. Among them are 21,207 families — 77.4 percent of them with one or more members who worked during the past 12 months.

“If these cuts go through, Ohioans will suffer,” report author and Policy Matters Policy Fellow Victoria Jackson said. “Last year more than 16 percent of Ohio households struggled to feed all their members at some point. If Congress cuts SNAP, CEOs of companies like Wal-Mart will pay lower taxes at the expense of many of their employees.”

Federal law already requires childless, working-age, able-bodied adults to work at least 20 hours a week to receive SNAP. More than two-thirds of SNAP recipients live in a household where at least one member works, according to the report. People living in designated high unemployment areas may receive a waiver from the work requirement. Under the Trump and House Budget Committee proposals, the waiver would be restricted further and SNAP recipients would face harsher work requirements.

Data also shows that SNAP helps bolster the state economy, especially in distressed economies with high unemployment. For every dollar invested in SNAP, the economy generates $1.70. Ohioans spent $2.4 billion at 9,644 retailers that accepted SNAP last year. The report also shows how many businesses in each Congressional District accept SNAP benefits.

“Since 1964 the federal government has provided food aid to try to prevent hunger in America,” Jackson said. “This has kept children and adults in all of our communities fed. Changing that now, when we are richer than we’ve ever been as a country, would be shameful.”

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