Letter: Protecting SNAP more important now than ever | SkyHiNews.com

Letter: Protecting SNAP more important now than ever

In the middle of a pandemic and deepening economic crisis, the regulations for SNAP (food stamps) under the Trump administration have been changed to decrease eligibility for this vital food assistance.

Initially these harmful regulations were put into the farm bill, but Congress took it out of the bill. These draconian regulatory changes would have decreased $60 million in food assistance for Colorado annually, and removed 30,000 Coloradans from SNAP, including 11,000 children and 7,300 seniors at a time when the impacts of the COVID-19 has drastically changed people’s lives.

Democrats believe in supporting local and small businesses in a way that builds and promotes local jobs, and broad wealth within our communities. They support good jobs and good wages. They believe in fairness. With the COVID-19 pandemic came the necessity of closing businesses and staying at home to prevent contagion. Now, as many residents have lost jobs and income, Grand County agencies and food banks have reported a large increase in SNAP applications.

SNAP is also an important recovery tool. During a recession, more people require SNAP benefits, which they spend quickly, putting money back into the economy. Research shows that every dollar of SNAP benefits lead to $1.50 to $1.80 in economic activity. Thus SNAP is a good public investment, especially during economic downturns.

Previously, the average SNAP family in Colorado received $1.29 per meal per person. Families cannot maintain healthy diets at this level. The Families First Coronovirus Response Bill increased the benefits of SNAP but only if states request this on a monthly basis, and it can disappear rapidly when the emergency designation is removed.

Sen. Michael Bennett, Andrew Romanoff and John Hickenlooper — Democrats running for Sen. Corey Gardner’s seat — have all supported enhancing SNAP benefits. To date, Gardner has not committed to overriding the harmful SNAP rule changes and advocating an increase of the SNAP benefit level by 15% to cover the costs of foods for families. Join us in sending a letter to Sen. Gardner urging his support of these policies. We’re all in this together, right?

— Michael Dobersen and Deb Thomas-Dobersen, Tabernash

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