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Lawmakers Advocate for SNAP Benefit Boost in Governor Hochul’s Budget

A bipartisan group of New York legislators is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to address the pressing issue of food insecurity by increasing the minimum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to $100 statewide. 

Currently set at a minimum of $23 a month, the legislators argue that more than this amount is needed to meet the needs of struggling households across the state.

Bipartisan Push to Alleviate Hunger

The call for action comes after SNAP benefits were reduced to a minimum of $23 following the expiration of emergency allotments during the pandemic. 

The legislators highlight that New York households, comprising nearly 3 million residents receiving SNAP benefits, experienced an average decrease of $151 per month when the emergency program ended in March.

In a letter to Governor Hochul, 18 state senators and 38 Assembly members emphasized the bipartisan support for addressing hunger in the state.  Assemblywoman Jessica González-Rojas, a co-author of the letter, stated, “Now we just have to invest the dollars to make sure that no New Yorker, including our children, will go to bed hungry.”

The legislators, citing a recent Siena poll, revealed that 76 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of Republicans, and 65 percent of independents and other voters support the proposed increase to the SNAP minimum benefit. 

The letter requests Governor Hochul to include the rise in her executive budget proposal due in January, with bipartisan backing from a Republican state senator and six Republican Assembly members.

State Senator Rachel May, a co-author of the letter, emphasized the widespread support for increasing SNAP benefits, saying, “The results of the recent Siena poll show that New Yorkers across geographical, ideological, and party lines support increasing the SNAP benefit.”

The legislators pointed out that Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are among the US cities with the highest percentages of SNAP recipients, according to census data. 

The US Census Bureau’s Household Pulse survey also revealed an 87 percent increase in New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity from July 2021 to July 2022.

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Advocating SNAP Benefit Increase

A bipartisan group of New York legislators is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to address the pressing issue of food insecurity by increasing the minimum benefit of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to $100 statewide.

In March, the office of State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report stating that about 800,000 New Yorkers experienced food insecurity from 2019 to 2021, representing 10 percent of the state’s residents. 

Another September report highlighted specific challenges rural residents face, including difficulties in accessing food in food deserts. The legislators stressed that increasing SNAP benefits helps low-income families and supports jobs and grocery stores. 

They pointed out that each dollar invested in the food stamps program generates between $1.50 and $1.80 in local economic benefits, accounting for 10 percent of all grocery sales.

New York lawmakers cited New Jersey’s recent increase in the state’s minimum benefit to $95 per month as a positive precedent. 

The proposed increase in New York would distribute a monthly state SNAP benefit that matches the difference between the eligible recipient’s federal SNAP benefit and $95 to bring the benefit to the new $100 minimum.

Assemblywoman González-Rojas also highlighted other proposals to address food insecurity in New York, including universal school meals and ending the subminimum wage for restaurant-tipped workers. 

As indicated by the Siena poll, the bipartisan support for these proposals reflects a collective effort to create a safer, more affordable, and livable state.

The legislators are urging Governor Hochul to prioritize the well-being of New Yorkers by incorporating the increased SNAP benefit in the upcoming budget season, addressing the critical issue of food insecurity in the state.

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