Military Family Access Act
Many of our military families are food insecure. In Idaho, 1 in 9 of working-age Veterans and 24% of active-duty service members were food insecure in 2020. Female and disabled Veterans are more likely to experience hunger (Housing Assistance Coalition, 2020). The Military Family Nutrition Access Act would exclude Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) — a portion of military pay allocated to to cover off-base housing costs — from income calculations used to determine SNAP eligibility. Of note, this is already true for many Federal assistance programs including Head Start, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit already.
The Farm Bill is Vital
Press Release from the Bipartisan Policy Center: The 2023 Farm Bill gives Congress an opportunity to improve food and nutrition security through federal nutrition assistance programs by expanding access, reducing costs through improved efficiencies and program integrity, and promoting workforce participation. The legislation also is an opportunity to increase the intake of foods recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). The major federal nutrition assistance programs authorized in the farm bill are:
|Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program|
Commodity Supplemental Food Program
Community Food Projects
Emergency Food Assistance Program
|Seniors Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program |
Food Distribution on Indian Reservations
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
Healthy Food Financing Initiative
2023 Idaho Grocery Tax Bill
Idaho House Bill 33 amends, repeals, and adds to existing law to exempt the sale of certain food items from sales tax, to repeal the grocery tax credit, and to increase sales tax distribution to local governments. IIRAH believes that exempting groceries from the state’s sales tax will increase food affordability for Idahoans, increase profits for our local farmers and food producers, and remove a competitive disadvantage for Idaho communities at our borders. And, the IIRAH believes that a grocery tax exemption is a idea. The grocery tax credit provides (for those who apply for it) some relief, but as food prices rise it falls further behind. Persons receiving food assistance are not eligible for the tax credit, even though food stamps don’t cover the entire cost of food.
Beneficial Proposed Revisions to SNAP & WIC Food Packages
The USDA has proposed a new rule for SNAP and WIC benefits streamlines and modernizes the program. Of note, the proposed rule updates the eligible foods for purchase such that food packages better align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer guidance on what to eat and drink to meet your daily nutritional needs, promote good health, and prevent risk for disease. In addition, the proposed changes removes the barriers to online ordering and inter-based transactions for SNAP and WIC families. The proposed rule is a positive step towards encourage healthier eating patterns and make food more accessible for SNAP and WIC recipients.