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Two, two, two issues in one

Friday, Aug 11, 2017

* Hmm…


We’ve already discussed the governor’s apparent flip-flop on a pop tax. And we’ve discussed how the pop tax relates to federal funding of the SNAP program here.

* But here’s the other food stamp issue

Advocates for human services are worried that Gov. Bruce Rauner is planning to eliminate food stamps for as many as a quarter-million low-income Illinois residents.

And according to some advocates, Illinois Department of Human Services workers report that the state has begun using new administrative measures to throw eligible food stamp recipients off the rolls.

At issue is a large category of recipients in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, called “able-bodied adults without dependents.” Various estimates put their number as high as 240,000.

Under Clinton-era welfare reform, they were limited to three months of SNAP benefits every three years. But states with limited job availability could apply for waivers to that restriction, and Illinois has had a waiver since the beginning.

Rauner favored dropping the waiver in previous years, but was talked out of it by moderate voices in his administration, advocates say. But those moderates have been replaced by staunch reactionaries from the Illinois Policy Institute, who have echoed conservative talking points against people who they believe should be gainfully employed.

All you gotta do is click here to see how obsessed the Illinois Policy Institute has been on the SNAP issue over the years. And if you click here, you’ll see the group advocating for exactly the change that Rauner is now implementing.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments »
  1. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:51 pm:

    Not everyone on food stamps is out of work, or an adult, or able bodied.


  2. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 1:56 pm:

    Nice, the incompetent BTIAtm wants to punish the poor while doing a lousy job on the taxpayers’ dime.


  3. - Workin' - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:00 pm:

    “Soda” tax? Governor, you can’t keep droppin’ your Gs and call it a “soda” tax. No one will believe your regular guy schtick anymore. Have the BTIA set up a media avail with you drivin’ the old van up to Highland Park this weekend to stock up on pop (Mountain Dew would be best). And make sure you say “pop” in front of the cameras.


  4. - Porgy Tirebiter - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    Bruce responds ” I never met anybody at at North Shore cocktail party who REALLY needed there food stamps”


  5. - Politix - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    Nice to know our governor spends time looking for ways to deprive Illinoisans of federal funding meant to feed people.


  6. - Anon - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:16 pm:

    If you remove Rauner from the conversation, what is so wrong about requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work 20 hours/week in order to qualify for SNAP? It sounds reasonable to me. And if they live in an area that doesn’t have jobs, an extension may give them time to relocate to a place with better prospects. I just don’t agree that SNAP should be forever.


  7. - Wylie Coyote - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    Why worry about Raunder’s ;flip-flop’ on the soda tax? I’m more interested in when Preckwinkle starts tap dancing on this one….


  8. - Linus - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:19 pm:

    So, to review:

    1) Rauner was against the soda tax, until

    2) He was against it, but

    3) He still favors making use of it to slash Food Stamps for poor families.

    All. Crystal. Clear. At least he’s consistent in two things: His propensity for wild inconsistency and his abiding passion for slapping around the poor folks.


  9. - Retired Educator - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:23 pm:

    This is like a magic act. To take your mind off the last trick, a new illusion is introduced. The Governor seems to go from one controversy to another, with reckless abandon. To take the heat off hurting all schools, and school students, he now goes on the attack of another vulnerable group. I am really glad he has the BTIA to help him out. I shudder to think what he would do on his own.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    Jim Edgar axed General Assistance for single able bodied adults. Though there were some hurt by that decision, the result was either under-reported or many recipients already had money from other sources, and this stream dried up.


  11. - Linus - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    Apologies: I meant to write:

    1) Rauner was FOR the soda tax, until

    2: He was against it,

    etc etc


  12. - Honeybear - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    If you thought Ferguson was bad, I wouldn’t put the work requirement back on.

    Seriously, I praised the Governor last time for waiving it.
    If you can’t find work in three months you are sanctioned for three years.

    You want to see a total meltdown?

    How about we pour millions into our work and training programs instead. Those programs address the barriers to self sufficiency


  13. - Liberty - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:27 pm:

    LOL - Governor Flounder


  14. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Honeybear, that Ferguson reference may be a bit hyperbolic but I otherwise fully agree with you that the sanctions are overly punitive and that work/training programs, particularly those at the community colleges, are a better long-term investment.


  15. - Arock - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:32 pm:

    Maybe we could do some reforms so we can maybe grow some jobs like the states around us.


  16. - Anon - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:42 pm:

    Arock-

    No amount of reform will ever make us competitive with surrounding states that aren’t staring down $150+ billion in unfunded pension liabilities in the coming decades.

    We are one of the highest taxed (income/property/sales) states in the country all included, and that is before the crushing increases that are in the pipeline to deal with the pension obligations.

    Besides, how is Madigan supposed to remain in charge if we make the reforms that are really necessary to our state even dreaming of being a competitive place to start/expand a business? He remains in charge precisely because of his commitment to a status quo that has been so damaging to the state for the past 35 years.

    He has a good thing going, why would he ever dream of messing it up?


  17. - Pot calling kettle - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:43 pm:

    ==what is so wrong about requiring able-bodied adults without dependents to work 20 hours/week in order to qualify for SNAP?==

    From the post: “states with limited job availability could apply for waivers to that restriction, and Illinois has had a waiver since the beginning.” You don’t cut off someone’s food because they can’t find something that does not exist.

    ==And if they live in an area that doesn’t have jobs, an extension may give them time to relocate to a place with better prospects.==

    But who provides the resources for this relocation? Moving isn’t a low cost proposition. Do you move before or after you get a job? If before, how do you find (and pay for) a place to live if you don’t have a job? If after, how do you get to the interview and secure a job if you don’t live in the area? For a poor person, this can be an insurmountable barrier.


  18. - 360 Degree Turnaround - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Is it a soda tax or a pop tax? Maybe that is why the BTIA is confused.


  19. - Honeybear - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:49 pm:

    AA- hyperbole is my true medium.
    Honestly though, I wasn’t joking
    South and west Chicago
    Kankakee
    And East St Louis
    Would blow up over this.
    Lessie Bates Davis is doing amazing work
    But we don’t have the jobs and many are not ready.

    I helped a guy yesterday type in an app because he had no computer skills. Poor guy. No car, no job, no college. His aspiration was to do janitorial work.
    It’s sad. There’s literally nothing for him.
    I guess he won’t get food now.
    IPI won’t acknowledge that there are many times barriers that are just about insermountable.

    On a better note. We had a woman the other day that typed so fast and was do sharp we gave her the web address to apply for a job at our office.

    People please don’t criminalize the poor
    So many people are trying so hard to make it
    Let’s help them with programs.


  20. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Does Gov. Rauner have an actual consistent policy agenda or is it just anti anything Democrat at this point?


  21. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:00 pm:

    “Maybe we could do some reforms so we can maybe grow some jobs like states around us.”

    Indiana and Wisconsin lost jobs in three of the last four months. Michigan lost jobs in three of the last five months.

    http://www.deptofnumbers.com/employment/indiana/

    Colorado lost jobs in only two of the last 12 months and has a 2.3% unemployment rate. Oregon posted no monthly job losses. In the last 12 months.


  22. - Fixer - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    Honeybear, are you guys doing WIG in your office and if so how well is that going so far? Numbers up north haven’t been the greatest primarily because of the lack of decent jobs in our area. I can push for someone to apply for jobs if there were any. Primarily it’s for aides in nursing homes and fast food places. Most of the other positions require either degrees or previous experience.

    It’s a great idea in theory, but the training programs would make a bigger difference and those aren’t coming back at a pace to keep up with the folks that could use it the most.


  23. - Progressive labor democrat - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    @Anon

    So explain how someone that hasn’t got enough money for food will be able to move? At least 1 month rent as security deposit and maybe more plus expenses to move and find a job


  24. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:45 pm:

    It looks real nice when a multimillionaire gorges himself on public worker pension funds, pays a low state income tax for decades, balloons the state’s debt by billions and wants to grab poor SNAP recipients by the ankles, turn them upside-down and shake every meager extra public penny out of their pockets.


  25. - Anon221 - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    Grandson of Man- And don’t forget the school scholarship tax credit program he wants to get started, either. Rauner needs all those personal subsidies to support the lifestyle he and Diana are accustomed to.


  26. - striketoo - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:54 pm:

    “The Governor seems to go from one controversy to another, with reckless abandon.” Hmmm, who else in public office seems to be following that approach.


  27. - Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    I’m more of a heartstrings kind of person, but I’m guessing BVR & those that support this policy decision are more the purse-strings type. So let’s talk money.

    First off, the Federal government pays the full cost of the SNAP benefits & splits administrative costs with the State government. So the only way deny this population benefits saves the state money is by eliminating the state-side split of administrative costs.

    I’m guessing Rauner wants to cut that split admin cost, but it’s not all that straightforward. The largest ticket item in administrative costs is staff time. In order to really see noticeable cost-savings Rauner will want to cut staff related to SNAP. The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) administers SNAP. My guess is that Rauner thinks if he cuts SNAP benefits, them he can cut IDHS caseworkers. But here’s the rub: Cutting the SNAP caseload does not directly relate to cutting IDHS caseworkers.

    IDHS caseworkers tend to be cross-trained in a lot public benefits and state programs. There are still programs & public benefits that IDHS administers for the “able-bodied adults without dependents” population even without SNAP. My guess is that the number of IDHS cases are unlikely to decrease to the point that caseworkers can be let go without a serious impact to other state programs and public benefits. Thus the main pathway for cost-saving related to waiving the waiver is likely untenable.

    OK, but what if you don’t care if it saves money or not? What if you just don’t think this population deserves benefits for ideological, moral, or whatever -al reasoning you have. Well I’d disagree with you for ideological, moral, & several other -al reasons, but again let me stick to a simple economic-al reason.

    All those folks will still have to eat somehow. The entire point of the waiver is that there aren’t enough jobs for this population to support itself without SNAP benefits. Cutting off SNAP benefits won’t change the Illinois job market. So when these folks need to eat who will flit the bill without the waiver? If you guessed your local community, then winner winner chicken dinner…or not depending on whether you really “deserve” that food.


  28. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    I like Bill Buckley’s idea of giving each U.S. citizen a basket of food. Cut out the means testing.

    It would be boring, but nobody goes hungry.


  29. - wordslinger - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:09 pm:

    So is that the BTIA plan, reducing the amount of federal dollars coming into Illinois? We already rank 47 on return of federal taxes.

    Get out of the dorm room, kids. Real people you’re messing with now.

    By the way, if Indiana is that burgeoning laissez faire paradise, why are they in the Top Ten of states on the federal dole?

    Kentucky is No. 1. on the dependency chart.

    https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/


  30. - Skeptic - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:27 pm:

    “Maybe we could do some reforms” Yup, term limits were all that was standing in the way of Foxconn coming to Illinois.


  31. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:32 pm:

    Gee Bruce. If only there was some method to help workers make betterwages so they can get off of food stamps. You know, like collective barganing? You really need to look into it./s


  32. - Earnest - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 4:37 pm:

    >Chicago_Downstater - Friday, Aug 11, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    Nicely done and beautifully counter-intuitive argument.


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