Governor criticizes Senate budget provision on food stamps
RALEIGH (AP) - North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is criticizing a state budget provision by Senate Republicans that his administration says would block federal food stamp benefits to over 130,000 people who qualified because they're also receiving other government benefits.
Media outlets report the change approved in the budget last week would roll back eligibility requirements for what's called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program expanded during the Great Recession. Otherwise, households making no more than slightly above the federal poverty level would qualify if the provision became law.
The provision wasn't discussed during Senate floor debate. GOP Sen. Ralph Hise of Spruce Pine says this week the change seeks to ensure the neediest people receive the food benefit.
Cooper said Wednesday in a release the food assistance doesn't cost any state tax money.