On Tuesday, November 19, New York State Senators Gustavo Rivera and Liz Krueger hosted a Roundtable at Guttman Community College. NYS Senators from the Democratic Conference including State Senator Brad Hoylman and advocates from a variety of organizations such as City Harvest and the Farm Bureau of New York also attended. The Roundtable examined the impact of federal cuts to the SNAP program on New York State residents and business owners and also explored what actions, if any, the state can take to alleviate the strain the cuts will cause on New Yorkers and the economy. A number of Guttman faculty, staff and students also attended this important roundtable. Second-year student Reina Osorio provided testimony to attendees about how SNAP cuts are affecting her family and progress toward earning a college degree.
As of November 1, SNAP benefits were cut by $19 million a month in New York alone, leaving two million New Yorkers with less money to purchase food each month. Furthermore, Congressional Republicans are proposing an additional $40 billion in cuts over the next decade to the SNAP program as part of the Farm Bill that is currently being negotiated.
In addition to exacerbating the hunger crisis in New York State and the country, these cuts will also have a crippling effect on our State’s economy. It is estimated that New York City alone will lose more than $225 million a year in food purchases that support jobs in our retail food sector, our farming industry and throughout our economy, according to the Food Bank of New York City.
These cuts affect the most vulnerable at a time when New Yorkers continue to struggle with a recovering economy. State Senators and advocates joined together today to explore the actions New York State can take to support its residents and alleviate the strain the cuts will cause on New Yorkers and the economy.
“It is irresponsible and unacceptable for Congress to make cuts to the SNAP program, especially with so many working families and low-income New Yorkers still struggling during our country’s economic recovery,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “The proposed funding reductions to SNAP will leave the most vulnerable among us struggling to put food on the table. With no steps or precautions to counter the devastating consequences of such cuts to either our residents or our economy, we cannot stand by and allow Congress to continue to make decisions that will drastically diminish the quality of life of millions of New Yorkers. I would like to personally thank Senator Krueger and the advocates that joined us today in an effort to find a way for our State to take action to counter the impact of these devastating cuts.”
“The federal cuts to the food stamp program translate into 20.6 million fewer meals for the 3.19 million New Yorkers receiving these benefits,” said State Senator Liz Krueger. “This is our single most successful direct benefit program, and slashing it will literally take food off the table for families struggling in a tough economy, while simultaneously doing real harm to the economy, taking dollars out of every link in the chain from farm to table. It’s crucial that those of us at the state and local level put our heads together at meetings like the one organized by Sen. Rivera today and try to forge a path toward state action to counteract the damage the federal government is doing to our communities with these cuts.”
View more pictures of the event here.