Wednesday, June 7, 2023
HomePoliticsHouse passes SNAP funding to get food to families in need

House passes SNAP funding to get food to families in need

The Alaska House of Representatives appropriated more than $6 million in funding to assist Alaskan families who depend on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to meet feed their families. Some 82,000 Alaskans used SNAP benefits.

The legislation, House Bill 79, was introduced by the House Rules Committee upon the request of the governor and passed in a vote of 38 to 1.

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The SNAP food stamp program has had with a backlog of unprocessed applications for months due to staffing issues and other factors. This has left many Alaskans in desperate situations, without basic food supplies. The passage of this bill is a critical step in bringing relief to these Alaskan families and individuals.

“The situation for many was desperate and we needed to act as fast as was prudently possible,” said Rep. Mike Prax of North Pole and chair of House Health and Social Services. “While I’d like to see a more long-term and sustainable solution, the time to debate that is later, but the bottom line is that some Alaskans were literally suffering from malnutrition and that had to be addressed now.” 

“With over 82 thousand beneficiaries, SNAP provides a critical safety net to Alaskans, especially those in rural communities,” said Bryce Edgmon of Dillingham, House Finance co-chair. “It is unfortunate that it took this long to address the backlog, but I’m glad the House was able to fast-track this funding.”

“Many Alaskans, particularly those in rural and remote areas depend on SNAP to supplement their food supply. When these services are not available many of these Alaskans, particularly children and the elderly, go without basic food staples. It was critical that we pass this measure to ensure the food security of Alaskans,” said Rep. Neal Foster of Nome, co-chair of Finance.

“I am pleased that the House took swift action on the floor to address the backlog of SNAP benefits and the needs of hungry Alaskans. I’d like to thank the Governor, members of the House Finance Committee, and all my colleagues for their efficient work on this bill,” said Rep. DeLena Johnson of Palmer and co-chair of Finance.

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Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


    • In Biden’s economy? I’m surprised it’s not alot higher.

      My wife and I do very well, but we’ve had to tighten and retighten our belts a couple times since “the Big Guy” sleezed into office.

    • Yes, and all the while both public and private employers in Alaska continually complain that jobs go unfilled! A legacy of the Chinese flu pandemic may be that we have taken from Alaskans the need and the desire to work. I have no idea how to recover from that but I do know that looking to elected officials for a solution would be silly and unproductive.

      Another and very related phenomenon is that many people in the mode of working hard and developing careers are leaving the state. In my view we have broken our economy by making government so large at the expense of the part of our private sector that produces the few goods and services Alaska sells to the rest of the world. An associated symptom is that in this stage of the business cycle Alaska banks have record deposits and nowhere in Alaska to lend the money.

      I don’t know how this story ends but will say that it’s probably not a good time to invest in Alaska real estate. I must say that at least from this news story I am very disappointed in Representatives Prax and Johnson for not recognizing how we are bringing long-term damage to our society and our economy!

      • Bidens 2020 shutdowns in the first few months of covid have absolutely destroyed our ability to function as a society. He made the streets empty and in turn our wallets became empty. He started giving payments to Americans in the fall of that year and taught folk that they can just sit at home and the government will cut them checks. This is why no one wants to work anymore. Let’s go Brandon!

        • Wait, Joe Biden shut down the country in the first few months of COVID in 2020?

          I thought he wasn’t sworn in as the President until Jan 2021.

          How’s that work?

          And further more, how can anyone live in this country for two years on the $3200 the Feds paid everyone in stimulus payments? Sit on your but and live off $3200. That makes total sense.

          • This country fought a civil war over people living off the fruits of other’s labor. It was called slavery then.

    • And that Michah6v8, is the dirty little secret is not discussed in polite company. What does that say about our economy?

  1. Were you aware that soda is SNAP eligible and that PALLETS of soda are eligible for bypass mail rates?
    You’re now aware that soda is the most shipped item on the bypass mail system by weight.

  2. Bigger question.

    What are they gonna cut to pay for this? We’re already drowning in red ink.

    Answer. They won’t and just further undermine the economic instability which is already driving people out of the state.

    • Maybe they cut their own pay raise that is coming?

      Maybe they cut oil tax subsidies?

      I don’t think either one will happen because I don’t think any one of them has the cojones to cut spending

    • It’s not intended to actually do something. It’s a gesture to show how compassionate they are.

      If we really wanted to make a difference we would develop some rail infrastructure to the bush. Make it easier to get goods and services out there.

      • The fact is that there is not enough potential freight going to the bush to make a rail line economic, even if you combined all of the communities into one market/destination.

    • Once again, you type nonsense. Did Dunleavy create the increased inflation that eats through all funds, including SNAP, faster than expected when the budget was passed last May? Look to Washington for the cause of that problem.

  3. Okay, now make it like WIC. NO convenience store food, no processed food, no chips, cookies, soda, energy water…. Make it actually nutritious and affordable.

    • It’s only $72 per person. For a family of four as a supplement only it might last a month. I know me some oatmeal raisin cookies that are pretty nutritious. You got your flour, you got your oats, you got your eggs, you got your raisins and some butter. That takes care of three or four food groups right there. What do you want?

  4. People that live in remote areas rural areas need snap? I have moved several times in life to change careers or to accept a better job. The unemployment office in Juneau is a ghost town. Nobody is seeking work. Yet everyone has signs up looking for help. Why can’t these people relocate to an area where they can get a job? Generational unemployment the old teach the young how to live off the government. Given there are exceptions. But come on take care of yourself quit holding your hands out.

    • I’m curious.

      -when was the last time you actually were in the Juneau unemployment office? Are you speaking from experience or out of your butt?

      -when is the last time you relocated for work? It’s neither easy nor cheap.

      -many of the jobs available in CBJ either are low pay or require training and skills most employers can’t/won’t provide. In this economy, the wages often are lacking.

      I agree the work ethic is poor, but when both democrats and republicans pay people more to stay home than work, what do you expect?

      • Again, you say government is paying people not to work.

        Please show me the way, because I cannot live on $370 per week (the max unemployment benefit one can get) when rent is $1000 or so per month here in Anchorage.

        And to get that $370 per week, you had to have worked a job that paid you at least that much in the prior year. You also have to seek out work or you get rejected.

        Please tell me how I can get the government to pay me not to work

        • My dad used to tell me (and I hated it at the time)”looking for a job should be an 8 hr. a day job”.
          So ya better get busy, Pablo.

      • I was in the unemployment office one year ago. I was looking for people to employ. As were other business owners in there looking for help. Nobody was looking for work. Place was a house town. I relocated for work 15 years ago. Before that I relocated several times. Cbj is an option for employment yes you are correct. But to someone with some self drive there are way better careers than that. Any other questions masked avenger?

        • Couple things.

          – most people look from home.

          -what were you looking to fill?

          -the unemployment office isn’t a labor exchange where people hang out all day hoping you will wander in with a job.

          -if you have relocated as you claim, then you should know moving from community to community is neither east or cheap, even if you have a job waiting.

          -Why not use AK Hire? They place people all the time?

          -I’m sure you’re aware of things like Indeed, monster, ect? Plus most everyone has websites which list current openings.

          This isn’t the 70s. Life and tech have rendered things like the unemployment office semi obsolete.

          • Masked Avenger. I am wondering, are you a State Employee? Perhaps a retired State Employee?
            Do tell…

    • Maybe not so much in the valley, and I did know a guy once out in the bush that had a nice little strawberry patch but growing a garden is pretty much a waste of time unless you’re after cabbages or something like that. Sure they have plenty of meat and fish, but other things to sustain them not so much. I did see a road crew that did some improvement and when they seated the hillside they use straw to stop the grass seed from washing away. The seeds did come up nicely but where I was shocked, the wheat seed that was in the straw germinated and was 3 ft tall right next to the road. Wheat was growing in Manokotak Alaska.

    • I would have moved to Juneau in the 1990s if not for the reality of having my income swallowed whole by housing costs. Anchorage and Fairbanks were both very affordable at the time.

      • The only thing that’s changed is Anchorage and Fairbanks have caught up.

        My kids left Alaska for the same basic reason. To afford a better life.

    • There are a lot of people ALL Over who are getting SNAP Benefits. It doesn’t matter where they live.
      I do agree people need to get off their butts and stop being a lazy cough bum, but not everyone who lives in the Rural Areas are asking for that or any handout.
      I started my own business and work from home and I do live in a remote area. I pay for everything that I have and will continue to do so.
      I think the people in this State needs to realize that the SNAP program is a waste of money and it needs to get a better “grip” on how to handle the program.
      Making it mandatory to allow people the option to ONLY pay for the bare things they need to survive is the “main” goal to this program, and should be enforced as soon as possible.
      Rice, beans, sugar, flour, dry milk, etc. Is all this program needs to pay for.
      Crazy how much money the State had giving to the program!

  5. It’s only $72 per person. For a family of four as a supplement only it might last a month. I know me some oatmeal raisin cookies that are pretty nutritious. You got your flour, you got your oats, you got your eggs, you got your raisins and some butter. That takes care of three or four food groups right there. What do you want?

  6. When more people are eligible for these programs, it brings up the shelf prices of groceries for all of us. It is then dismissed as simply inflation. Need an example? Look at any village, where the prices are inflated highly above the government subsidized shipping costs. Now we are starting to see it in Anchorage. Soon we will all need snap.

    • You have always seen it. A jar of mayonnaise always cost more in Anchorage than it does in Seattle. Just like a jar of mayonnaise out in the bush is more than an Anchorage. Just because airlines are subsidized for freight, doesn’t mean that all the costs are absorbed.some plus a profit are passed on to the consumer. That’s capitalism. Your idea is not what’s bringing costs up

      • You are highly mistaken, sir. I am not referring to normal markup. It costs an additional 73 cents to ship a gallon of milk to Bethel with subsidized freight. So why is it now sold for over ten dollars? The people that live there who are not on Snap arrange their own shipping for groceries, and even though they don’t receive the subsidized rates pay half the price. I thought you mentioned that you spent time in the villages. You should know this.

    • Not as much as the costs in a failing economy to get goods to remote locations.

      As long as we refuse to invest in basic infrastructure, the circle rolls on.

      Not to mention the tricky thing called the recession mixed with the incompetent fool handling the transportation sector.

      • Also, a lot of opportunism going around. The prices I quoted were pre-pandemic, but for sure there are excuses all of the time. This is not capitalism, it’s stealing with a nod. When the government (taxpayers) are paying the inflated prices, who cares. It’s just that the private sector can’t afford the intentional markup without being subsidized as well. The real poor with pride suffer. And the rest of us just pay more than value for goods and services. Call it what you want.

    • What fire can you light in Point Wainwright? Deadhorse?

      To light a fire requires fuel. In this case, fuel is competition is industry.
      What competitive industry exists in the bush?

      • Masked genius… if someone feels they want to live in the “bush” then obviously they won’t have a job. The point is it’s not the taxpayers responsibility to pay for someone’s lifestyle choice. Living in a cabin on the beach off the grid is for well off retired folks. Or unemployed money sucking people that don’t want to work.

        • Droll, and as usual off the mark. But you gotta go with what works for you, which is myopic thinking.

          -when we became a state, we knew the bush communities were a part of the equation and still accepted the responsibility.

          -you’re simplistic, make them all move to the cities approach is very AOC of you. I’m curious if we emptied Teller and forced them to move to Juneau where you would put them? CBJ isn’t overrun with affordable housing.

          -at no point did you bother addressing my point, which was how do you light said fire under people in isolated communities? That Fire requires economic opportunity and competition. Which our isolated bush communities don’t have for a variety of reasons.

          You’re very quick to assume people don’t want to work. You have the ability to read people’s hearts?

          Plenty of bush communities have jobs. But lack of competition holds down wages. Lack of infrastructure limits ability to move and seek options or bring in growth.

          Sigh. You can lead the perpetually smug to logic and reality. Making them think is another issue all together.

          • To greg, sounds your original would had been mistaken by readers as anti-semitic, so downing be protecting you and mrak since some vistors wouldn’t understand it.

          • Perhaps relocate everyone in the housing projects that are on snap. Maybe send them to whoknowswhere,? He acts like everyone in the bush live off the grid. Very odd thinking.

        • You don’t have a clue. Everybody had a job that wanted on. Clinic, post office, store, road maintained, trash person, airport runway, dog killer every once in a while along with work at school. You can’t force people to leave their homes. I wish you would try though.

  7. Maybe. My meaning was, if he forces natives to leave their village because he doesn’t want them to have food stamps, he forces them to give up their culture and heritage all for being hungry. Much like the Nazis forced the Jews to give up what was important to them. When people are forced to do something they find undesirable, nothing good can come from it. Hope this clears it up and as always, I welcome his response.

  8. I think that the SNAP program should be there for people who “really” need help with the bare minimum foods; such as rice, beans, flour , sugar, etc. This program has gotten to where people “live” on it. It should be there to help them “get out of the hole” instead of providing Junk Food. Maybe that will help people not be over weight and to live a healthier lifestyle.
    I just have to get this off my chest. I am tired of seeing people feed their kids Doritos and Soda for dinner just because they get LOTS of Food Stamps and are Lazy to make a good meal.
    The program needs to help, funding wise, with ONLY the basic foods people need to live. It will save so much money and lives!

  9. I received my last SNAP benefit November 4th of last year. My shelves are empty. The small amount of income that I receive and spend on personal items, I have had to spend on rice and beans. I don’t know who got this 6 million dollars in food assistance, but it wasn’t anybody I know. I haven’t been able to afford toilet paper in weeks, Nevertheless who needs toilet paper when you can’t afford to eat.

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