RALEIGH (April 13, 2018) – Yesterday, the House Agricultural Committee released their version of the 2018 Farm Bill. Chairman Conaway’s proposal would increase hunger and further burden struggling North Carolinians by cutting, and in many cases taking away, food assistance. Its effects will ripple through communities, businesses, and farms across generations.

Rather than helping those in need by providing job training opportunities or ensuring workers earn a living wage, this proposal seeks to take away their food. The effects of these harsh changes will be felt by everyone, including parents raising children, people with disabilities, older workers, low-wage workers, and those unable to find jobs.

Although some claim this proposal will push people towards work, the reality is that it imposes unnecessary bureaucracy on state agencies, strips flexibility and options from states while also failing to provide the funding and support states need.

Given that North Carolina is the 10th hungriest state in the nation, this bill would be particularly devastating for our residents. In 2016, SNAP reached more than 1.5 million North Carolinians, targeting the most vulnerable folks to help ensure older adults, veterans, and children get enough to eat each day. SNAP benefits also help stimulate the state’s economy. More than 9,700 grocers and retailers participate in the program, which pumped $2.2 billion into the economy last year. On average, from 2011 to 2014, SNAP benefits lifted 175,000 North Carolinians, including 81,000 children, out of poverty.

This House proposal misses an opportunity for policymakers across the political spectrum to come together and make serious investments to address the root causes of food insecurity and commit to building pathways to good paying jobs for everyone. Instead, policymakers have chosen ideology over people, rejecting the evidence of what works to strengthen the well-being of our residents and economy.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Alexandra Sirota, BTC Director, alexandra@ncjustice.org; Brian Kennedy II, Public Policy Fellow, briank@ncjustice.org; Julia Hawes, Director of Communications, at (919) 863-2406.

The nonpartisan Budget & Tax Center is a project of the NC Justice Center, which works to eliminate poverty in North Carolina by ensuring that every household in the state has access to the resources, services and fair treatment it needs to achieve economic security