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Illinois Food Bank: 'Cuts to SNAP Would Hurt State Economy'

Elvis Batiz
Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for FY 2018 would cost Illinois more than $5 billion dollars in the next five years.

That’s because the spending plan would shift the costs of the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, to the states.

The Eastern Illinois Food Bank, based in Urbana, estimates that under the president’s plan, nearly 1.1 million people statewide would lose their SNAP benefits.

CEO and President Jim Hires says that would hurt the state’s bottom line because less people will be participating in the buying economy – or more simply, they won’t be able to buy groceries.

“We can move people out of poverty, but they move up into the category of ‘just being poor,’” Hires said. “And when you’re poor, you still have to make choices.”

The Food Bank says the majority of people on food assistance use it temporarily, about six months on average.

“We deal with thousands and thousands of people, between 116-120,000 unique individuals a year,” Hires said. “I will guarantee you, ask every one of them do they want to stand in line to get food and they will say ‘no.’”

Hires says it’s “morally wrong” to balance a budget on the backs of the most vulnerable. President Trump’s spending plan would cut funding for the national SNAP program by a third.