January 11, 2010
Just over 3 million Californians received food stamp benefits in October 2009, according to new data from the Department of Social Services. Enrollment in the program jumped by about 905,000 (43.0 percent) from October 2007, a period when California was sliding into a deep recession. However, as we pointed out in our recent report, California historically has had a low participation rate in the Food Stamp Program, and the state still has many policies in place that impede access. These policies are a key reason why nearly 2.2 million eligible Californians did not receive food stamp benefits as recently as 2007.
Enrolling more eligible Californians in the Food Stamp Program is a win-win scenario: Benefits, which are 100 percent federally funded, help struggling families as well as struggling local economies. According to our estimates, enrolling 100,000 more eligible Californians would bring roughly $177 million in additional food stamp benefits to California each year. Enrolling 10 times that number – 1 million eligible Californians – would bring about $1.8 billion in federally funded food stamp benefits to the state each year. This infusion of federal funding would provide a significant boost to local economies: Economists estimate that every dollar spent on food stamp benefits increases economic activity by $1.73.
— Scott Graves
December 22, 2009
Getting more eligible Californians into the Food Stamp Program (FSP) is a win-win scenario for California: Food stamp benefits not only help struggling families, but they also help struggling local economies.
A new CBP report released today shows that although FSP enrollment has increased rapidly during the economic downturn, California historically has had a low participation rate, and the state still has many policies in place that impede access. We think the downturn makes it more important than ever for the state and counties to implement strategies to boost participation in the program.
— Scott Graves
November 24, 2009
With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, it seems fitting to give thanks for a key component of the nation’s safety net for low-income families – the Food Stamp Program. More and more Californians with incomes below or near the poverty line turned to the program to help put nutritious food on their tables as the recession deepened and job losses mounted over the past two years. The number of Californians receiving food stamp benefits reached nearly 2.9 million in August 2009, an increase of more than 814,500 (39.4 percent) from the August 2007 level of nearly 2.1 million. By comparison, the number of Californians receiving food stamp benefits during the prior two-year period – August 2005 to August 2007 – increased by just 3.1 percent.
The impact of food stamp benefits, which are 100 percent federally funded, extends beyond the households that receive them. Food stamp benefits free up income that low-income households would otherwise likely spend on food, thereby allowing families to increase their purchases of clothing and other necessities, which in turn boosts economic activity. Economists estimate that every dollar spent on food stamp benefits increases economic activity by $1.73 – a significant “bang for the buck.” Increased economic activity, in turn, boosts state sales tax revenues because many purchases that food stamp households make are subject to the sales tax. In short, increasing the number of Californians who receive food stamp benefits not only helps low-income families avert hunger, but also draws more federal dollars into the state, boosting both economic activity and state revenues.
— Scott Graves