MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WSAU) -- The new Farm Bill has some changes that will drastically affect a lot of low-income people. That’s according to State Representative Katrina Shankland. The Stevens Point Democrat is working with Democratic Representative Evan Goyke to seek either Legislative help or an executive order from Governor Scott Walker to help prevent over 255-thousand Wisconsin households from seeing cuts in food stamps of nearly $1,000 per person per year.
Shankland says a change in the language of the new Farm Bill created this problem. “What happened was, in the 2014 Farm Bill, Congress cut about eight billion dollars through states that use the Heat and Eat Program. What they did was, instead of actually cutting dollars out of it, they raised the threshold of receiving low-income energy assistance.”
The Heat and Eat program allows for low-income residents to qualify for additional food stamp assistance if they receive at least $1 in energy assistance. Congress increased the energy assistance threshold to $20.
Goyke and Shankland have proposed a solution that uses no Wisconsin state budget dollars. Shankland says it’s simply a matter of taking a small number of federal dollars to leverage a large amount of federal dollars. “276-point-3 million dollars in food stamp benefits for Wisconsin families will be cut unless we just move around the money we have already. These are federal dollars. 5-point-4 million federal dollars to leverage 276-point-3 million dollars.”
Shankland and Goyke announced their proposal in Milwaukee Thursday. She says she has requested a meeting with Governor Scott Walker to discuss this, since it is something that can be done either in special session, or by executive order, and makes sense for Wisconsin regardless if you’re Democrat or Republican.
Members of both political parties have already made this adjustment in 8 of the 16 affected states.