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Sep 12, 2013 7:52 PM by Sam Salzwedel

Tucsonans worry about food stamp cuts

TUCSON - Some Tucsonans are worried the House of Representatives might cut $40 billion from the federal food stamp program over the next 10 years.

The program cost $78 billion in 2011.

Victoria Dawes was getting food from the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona Thursday and was upset about the possibility.

"I appreciate everything I get from the government," Dawes said. "But we've worked hard for that money too, all of our lives."

The formal title is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP.

Heath Butrum is the food bank's public policy strategist and says SNAP injects $21 million a year into the local economy. He is concerned it will make life harder for the people who visit the food bank.

"They're already working hard to make sure they provide their children meals," he said. "And this is going to make it even more difficult."

Belen Garcia volunteers at the Pio Decimo Community Center where they help people sign up for SNAP. She applied for the program about 2 months ago.

"If I find a job, I won't really need them," she said. "But for people that don't have work and people that just have no other way to pay for food, it helps a lot."

Liz Thomey has worked at Pio Decimo for 12 years. She says SNAP lives up to its name of being supplemental.

"It just gives you enough money to provide healthy options for your family," she said. "And the more cuts, the less they have, and the less quality food that they have."

Tyler Mott, with the Pima County Republican Party, said the Republicans should not be criticized for trying to curb trillions in the national debt. He pointed out that the program's budget drastically increased the past few years, which he blames on the Democrats.

"The bigger problem is that we need to get people back to work so they don't have to ask the government for their food stamps," Mott said. "Most Americans would rather be able to provide for food for their own families."

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