MEMPHIS, Tenn. — President Donald Trump on Tuesday sent Congress a $4.1 trillion spending plan that relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts to programs for the poor in a bid to balance the government’s books over the next decade.
One aspect of the budget proposal that would especially hit close to home is the cuts to food stamp funding.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Shelby County rely on food assistance programs like SNAP and rely on what the Mid-South Food Bank distributes.
Warner Gale, who lives in Memphis, said he has family members who use food stamps and are on Medicaid.
“It’s very important,” he said.
Which is why he thinks this about the president’s proposed budget: “It’s just not the right thing to do.”
The proposed budget would cut Medicaid funding projections by nearly a quarter and would cut food stamp funding by nearly 30 percent.
“It would increase crime and leave kids without enough to eat.”
The White House budget director said it’s time to focus on the taxpayers and not only the recipients of taxpayer money. He also said people need to go back to work and not take advantage of these programs when they don’t truly need them.
WREG spoke with some Memphians who agreed with this opinion on Tuesday, but they didn’t want to comment publicly on it.
“It wouldn’t be bad if there were enough jobs to go around, but the way the economy is, it’s just not a good thing,” said Gale.
Over at the Mid-South Food Bank, the president said she’s concerned about how the cuts could affect them.
An average of 26 people per hour utilize the services and distributions the Mid-South Food Bank has to offer. Administrators said that number could increase if less people have access to food stamps and, therefore, would rely on them more.
“We can’t solve that problem alone; that’s why food stamps are so important to help provide the nutrition that those families need,” said Estella Mayhue-Greer, president of the Mid-South Food Bank.
She said the people who are most vulnerable are children and the elderly.
“That’s a tremendous need in Shelby County,” she said.
Over a million people in the state of Tennessee use the food assistance program SNAP.