The House Appropriations Committee passed a bill (HB 581) by freshman Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola, that would restore income eligibility for households for food stamps to 130 percent of the poverty level, the minimum level set by the federal government.
The household income standard was raised to 200 percent of poverty following the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, which expanded the population eligible for food stamps. Florida remains one of 43 states with that broader eligibility standard.
“I think every tax dollar is sacred.”- Rep. Frank White, R-Pensacola
The panel’s chairman, Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, said the bill is needed to reduce food stamp fraud by verifying applicants’ eligibility. To make his case, he described seeing people in grocery stores in Miami with “a Mercedes key chain and their SNAP card,” a reference to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides nutrition assistance to millions of low-income individuals and families.
Anecdotes are often deployed when the subject of public assistance is discussed.
“I think every tax dollar is sacred,” White told lawmakers. “We should spend those tax dollars as if they are our own.”