SNAP Revisions: 3 Bills Aim To Improve the Program for South Dakotans
Roughly 33,700 South Dakota households, or close to 71,000 individuals, receive benefits through the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as of December 2021. Households receive an average of $361 in monthly benefits, according to an article published on the South Dakota Public Radio website.
Three new, bipartisan bills have been introduced that could make access to healthy food easier and more affordable for South Dakota residents.
Restaurant Meals Could Come to South Dakota
A bill allowing South Dakota to participate in SNAP’s Restaurant Meals Program narrowly passed a Senate committee. States can opt into the program, which allows disabled, homeless and older (over age 60) SNAP recipients to use their benefits to purchase hot prepared food and meals at a discount from participating convenience stores, restaurants, fast food chains and delis. The program will help South Dakotans who are homeless and have no access to a kitchen to prepare meals, as well as seniors and disabled people who may not be able to cook for themselves.
Proponents say it will help support not just the SNAP recipients, but also local restaurants and food-service businesses, which have been suffering since the pandemic.
State Sales Tax Reduction and Phase Out
Two additional bills could make food more affordable for all South Dakotans, including those collecting SNAP benefits. SB 166 intends to phase out the 4.5% sales tax on SNAP purchases, SDPB reported. South Dakota is one of only 13 states that collects sales tax on groceries, and it’s one of three that taxes groceries at the same rate as other purchases, according to an infographic published by the Tax Policy Center and reproduced on the SDPB website.
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