1 lawmaker balks at proposed Idaho food stamp cost

AP News
Posted: Jan 17, 2012 12:21 PM
1 lawmaker balks at proposed Idaho food stamp cost

At least one Idaho lawmaker is concerned about the projected cost of issuing federal food stamp benefits on the first 10 days of the month, rather than on the first day, as is done now.

Idaho is pursuing a staggered issuance because grocers complained 235,000 recipients who get benefits on a single day have created cash-register bottlenecks.

Grocers may defray startup costs, but ongoing expenses could run $220,000 annually after 2014, for four employees to field questions from confused recipients.

Republican Rep. Fred Wood suggested to the program's administrator, Russ Barron, that the amount can be trimmed.

Speaking during Tuesday's budget hearing, Barron told Wood the $220,000 is based on what Idaho needed before 2009, to employ three workers when the state still issued food stamp benefits over five days.