As Ohio legislators hash out a budget through reconciliation of differing House and Senate proposals, one provision must be thrown out.
The Senate budget contains provisions to complicate and extend the means test for recipients of federal SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.
The means test isn’t good policy and won’t save the state or federal government much, if anything.
Historically, they were called food stamps when folks actually had books of stamps to take to the store with them.
The test is, simply, mean and mean-spirited.
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks had it right. This bill will do little more than take food out of the mouths of hungry people, including children.
Once again, legislators seem more concerned about the political commercial value of legislation than reasonable public policy. Notably, this was a late addition to the Senate budget bill.
Among other things it would require disclosure of ownership of vehicles by all family members.
People fall on hard times, they may own a vehicle that’s relatively new and in good shape. That car or truck will count against them under the Senate plan.
If ownership of that vehicle cuts back, or eliminates benefits, the individual and their family will suffer — forcing them to effectively give up that vehicle — so much for the job search and getting back and forth to work. Let alone the need to eat.
The proposed means test will accomplish little. It’s not going to catch a lot of welfare cheats. People who receive SNAP benefits already have to meet several tests that require proof of income, medical documents, and more. Ample law and checking of documentation already required does catch cheats.
To require additional information and basing awards of benefits on such information will simply complicate the process for people desperately needing government help to survive.
There are cheats in any government program, and that includes wealthy and corporate cheats, but they don’t typically get the publicity or the auditing.
Think House Bill 6.
The budget conference must hash out a budget that throws out the means test.
There are far greater tasks to tackle, like school funding, than perhaps getting a few people out of the SNAP program.
— Toledo Blade, June 19