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JFC approves requiring food stamp recipients work to keep benefits

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - About 63,000 Wisconsinites would have to get work or job training to keep their food stamp benefits under a state budget measure endorsed Tuesday.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 12-4, with all Democrats voting no, to make childless adults either work 20 hours a week or get job training, in order to keep their FoodShare assistance.

Assembly Democrat Cory Mason of Racine called it a “mean spirited” attack on the poor.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau estimates that about 31,000 recipients would drop out of the FoodShare program. Mason says the state is “taking away (their) food.”

Other Democrats said it would cost the state about $72 million in lost federal FoodShare aid – and the state would spend $36 million more during the next two years to monitor recipients and start job-training programs.

GOP finance co-chair John Nygren says the extra costs are worth it to encourage recipients to find work. Other Republicans said it would bring Wisconsin in line with federal work requirements for food programs.