|Posted:||May 21, 2020 11:20 AM|
|From:||Representative Eddie Day Pashinski and Rep. Angel Cruz|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Establishing the SNAP Healthy Bucks Incentive Program|
|The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on our local, regional, and national food systems – hurting both consumers and producers. We hear stories of farmers forced to dump milk, euthanize animals, and destroy crops because there’s simply nowhere to go – while at the very same time we see potentially unprecedented need for food assistance programs like SNAP. These programs provide critical nourishment for our families, but often it is barely enough.
That’s why in the near future I intend to introduce legislation establishing the SNAP Healthy Bucks Incentive Program. Not only does the program help stretch critical SNAP dollars and increase consumption of healthy foods, but it also increases the demand for products grown and produced across our Commonwealth. The program would provide a benefit reimbursement of fifty cents to a SNAP participant for every one dollar of SNAP benefits redeemed by the SNAP participant for the targeted food items – with a cap dependent on household size.
SNAP items eligible for this bonus would include qualifying fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or dried), products governed under the Milk Marketing Law, or an agricultural commodity designated with the Pennsylvania Preferred® trademark. Household benefits for each SNAP eligible household will be capped as follows:
(1) For households with no more than two individuals, $40
(2) For households with no more than five individuals, $60
(3) For households with six or more individuals, $80
Pilot programs similar to this have shown promise in other states under normal circumstances and I believe can have an even more dramatic impact in these extraordinary times. For example, participants in Massachusetts’s Healthy Incentive Pilot (HIP) consumed 26% more targeted fruits and vegetables than did nonparticipants. Imagine what a difference that kind of surge in demand for healthy and PA produced foods could do for our farmers and our families. That’s why I’m asking you to please join me in co-sponsoring this important and timely piece of legislation.
Introduced as HB2553