Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is lobbying for changes to FoodShare, the state’s food stamp program, reports the Wisconsin State Journal. If the governor has his way, families could lose their benefits unless a parent with school-aged kids works or gets job training 80 hours a month.
Many Republican governors, like Walker and Maine’s Paul LePage, have tried to gut their states’ food stamp programs or apply stricter controls to who has access. Some of these efforts have been thwarted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency in charge of food stamp programs.
The governor’s office insisted that “any sanctions for noncompliance would be partial, only affecting the noncompliant adult’s portion of the allotment,” according to the State Journal. The statement is likely designed to allay concerns that children would be punished with hunger for their parents’ behavior. But as the Journal points out, “It’s unclear how the sanctions would be implemented in a way that only the parent would be affected.”
Democrats opposed to the measure told the Journal that if Walker is concerned about employment, he should refocus his efforts on job creation.
“The Walker administration doesn’t understand that it isn’t about people not wanting to work. It’s that they feel left behind because the administration has been completely inept at creating policies that can produce family-sustaining jobs,” Brandon Weathersby, spokesman for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, told the Journal.
“Each month, people across Wisconsin get help from FoodShare,” the state’s Department of Health Services says on their website. “They are people of all ages who have a job but have low incomes, are living on small or fixed income, have lost their job, retired or are disabled and not able to work.”
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated parents would be required to work 80 hours a week.)