SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — The Foodbank of Siouxland is coming out against two bills being considered in by Iowa lawmakers during the legislative session, saying it would make it more difficult for Iowans to access SNAP benefits.
The two bills the Food Bank is against are HF 3 and SSB 1105, which would add and alter rules to those who receive benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In a Thursday release, the Food Bank highlighted four criticisms of the bills.
The first criticism is that both of the bills would make it harder for those needing assistance to qualify or stay on SNAP, thus limiting the progress SNAP users could make to become self-sufficient. The Food Bank of Siouxland said more Iowa state employees would be needed to make regular checks of income and assets, as the bills propose. The release said that the state of Pennsylvania saved more than $3 million and added 100,000 to the program when they lifted similar rules. Additionally, a fiscal note which would offer the costs or savings for the bills has not bent provided.
Another criticism is that the bills do not keep pace with inflation nor take rural rules into consideration while putting federal asset limits in place. The changes would limit most families who have two vehicles, the release states. With public transportation between communities being limited in much of northwest Iowa, the Food Bank states that vehicles are a necessity for many.
Another change the bills would make is limiting the types of food SNAP benefactors could purchase would be limited to those on the Women’s, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) program. The WIC program is meant to provide specific nutritional needs to those who just gave birth and have small children, the Food Bank argues. Additionally, it said that food on WIC tends to be more expensive, making the purchase power for those on SNAP less.
The bills would also disallow fresh meat from being purchased through SNAP. The last criticism the Food Bank of Siouxland provided is that in a state which prides itself on the production of multiple fresh meat items, “it is disheartening to see these items cut from the list of choices.”
Jacob Wanderscheid, the Food Bank of Siouxland executive director, said in part of a statement that it is not the time to cut food assistance to those who need it. read the full statement below.
At a time of high inflation, this is not the time to reduce tools that emergency food assistance organizations use to aid those with a lack of food. I worry these two bills will restrict the overall food choices Iowan seniors and children have to lead their lives.Food Bank of Siouxland Executive Director Jacob Wanderscheid
The Food Bank stated it is “deeply disappointing” to their organization and who they serve, adding they believe SNAP can remain integral and continue to serve those in need. It provided three ways the organization believes the bills could be improved. The first is to trust families and to lift the restrictions on what types of food are allowed under SNAP. The next suggestion is to raise the asset limits and to tie those asset limits to the inflation rate. The last suggestion is to provide a fiscal note so that costs can be reviewed.
The organization is discouraging the passage of the bills, asking Iowa constituents to reach out to their elected officials and voice their opinions. Comments can also be left on the Iowa Legislature website.