Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) is looking to update the algorithms that determine the budgeting for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education sector; the algorithm currently used disfavors fast-growing states like Florida, due to the notion that SNAP-Ed relies on spending data from 2009.
To accomplish this goal, Sen. Rubio has introduced the SNAP Education Allocation Modernization Act. The bill’s purpose is to “modernize the formula used by SNAP-Ed to determine each state’s allocation without increasing topline spending.”
“SNAP-Ed is an important tool, but the current formula used to determine SNAP-Ed funding for each state is outdated and disadvantages most states. There is no reason to continue using an outdated formula based on data from 2009. My SNAP Education Allocation Modernization Act will ensure states receive funding that is responsive to the needs of their residents,” stated Sen. Rubio.
In the 2021 fiscal year, Florida accounted for over 8% of SNAP recipients but received just a little more than 2.5% of funding. In California, the Golden State accounted for approximately 10% of recipients but received almost 26% of the SNAP-Ed funding.
Rubio’s bill would phase out the usage of the current formula from 2009 over five years. In the future, the formula will be based “entirely upon the number of SNAP recipients in each state to ensure a more even distribution of funds.”
This is not the first time that Rubio has had quarrels with the SNAP program.
Recently, the Florida Senator introduced the Healthy SNAP Act, which looks to limit unhealthy options such as “junk food,” on the taxpayer’s dime.
About the current spending habits of those on the SNAP program, Rubio stated,“This is obviously bad for taxpayers, who are projected to spend $240 billion on junk food, with more than $60 billion going exclusively to soda, over the next decade,” wrote Sen. Rubio in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “But equally important are the health consequences for those relying on a program that is meant to supplement their nutrition. After all, there is nothing ‘nutritious’ about a two-liter bottle of soda, a bag of chips, or an ice cream cake.”
He would go on to mention that his bill is a “commonsense reform” that would cut medical expenses in the long run, as well.
“Such a commonsense reform would promote healthier diets at no additional cost to the American people and, in the long run, reduce medical expenses. It would also begin to address the problem of food deserts in low-income neighborhoods. If soft drinks and sweets are no longer SNAP-eligible, corner stores and supermarkets will have more of an incentive to stock healthier foods,” stated Sen. Rubio.
The SNAP Education Allocation Modernization Act will look to make its way to the Senate floor.