On Friday, the House Committee on Agriculture, Food Resiliency and Forestry voted 9-2 in favor of advancing a bill that would create a universal school meal program paid for by Vermonters.
Vermont is rushing rashly into a permanent universal student meals program that will cost taxpayers an estimated $27 million yearly. This sudden push is being driven by a handful of political activists, while ignoring the sources and impacts of funding the program.
Vermont already pays some of the highest per pupil education costs in the country relative to income — making universal school meal expenditures permanent will increase that distinction.
“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch” is a familiar adage. The phrase holds specific economic meaning — that even if the state provides welfare or something else for the people in need, it is in fact bought or provided by other people of the same community through taxes.
The public health emergency was renewed for COVID, but due to budget cuts the 15% increase in 3SquaresVT benefits was not. Reversion to pre-COVID benefit levels will commence in March.
Most Vermonters have no problem with those in need receiving assistance, especially during winter. But abuses of the “system” for public assistance should be policed and curtailed: currently they are not, and this is a significant problem.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently announced that it, too, will interpret the prohibition on discrimination based on “sex” found in Title IX to include “sexual orientation and gender identity.” Why does that matter? Because it holds food for needy children hostage to the transgender agenda.
The proposal, which was backed by a group of Democratic lawmakers, would have required the meals to be served without cost or at a reduced cost to any child who meets federal income eligibility guidelines.
“Total government and private resources combined (including education and services) would rise from $83,300 to $94,600 per year,” Rector and Hall wrote. “Private resources plus government cash, food, and housing would average $48,200 per year, nearly twice the official government poverty level for these families.”
The Build Back Better Act would add another $11,300 in annual benefits to the average poor family, bringing total government support to $76,400 per family.
The question going forward for urban blacks, Vermont welfare recipients and COVID fund recipients alike is, how may government benefit those in need without hurting them and those around them.
Roughly 42 million Americans receiving SNAP benefits will see a 27% increase. “As a result, the average SNAP benefit will increase by $36.24 per person, per month, or $1.19 per day, for Fiscal Year 2022 beginning on October 1, 2021,” the USDA said.