Louisville residents react to controversial food stamp bill


by Michelle Arnold


Posted on September 20, 2013 at 6:31 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 20 at 6:40 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)  -- The House passed a controversial food stamp bill on Thursday, that would mean four billion dollars a year in cuts.

On the same day we learn poverty rates are up in Kentucky. The U.S. Census Bureau saying the state is in the top five out of all 50 states when it comes to poverty. In fact it's 19.4 percent of the population.  If the House bill passes, more than 44,000 Louisville families could be affected.

“I'm absolutely against it,” Mark Bush said.

“We have to do the cuts because people are dependent on the system,” Elexis Wright said.
The stances are strong and sure. There isn't much in between when it comes to cutting food assistance programs.

“If we don't limit it, it's going to be a problem and we are going to be farther debt,” Wright said.

The bill passed in the House. It would cut 40 billion dollars from the food stamp program over the next ten years. It would also limit the time period that recipients could get food stamps, with hopes to curb misuse and get more people back to work.

“If the system is inefficient then we need to fix the system,” Sanford Berenberg said.

But would there be people and children unfairly affected by these cuts? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture more than 90 percent of people who are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are elderly, disabled or already working. Micah has cerebral palsy and he disagrees with the proposed cuts.

“All the elderly, the handicap, people that are living on low income, and you're going to make them suffer. I don’t think so,” Sarah said. 

While it's clear there is a giant divide on this issue, there is some common ground. Many people think food stamps are abused.

“Some people on assistance they don't have jobs, they don't have to be held accountable for any of the privileges they are getting,” Wright said.

“If we are wasting money because people are abusing the system then that's money that's being robbed from the rest of our people there,” Berenberg said.

The House bill moves on the Senate.

If it passes, the Congressional Budget Office says nearly 4 million people would be removed from the food stamp program starting next year.