Maine may soon become the latest state to ban junk food purchases with food stamps. The New England state is one of many locales attempting to restrict SNAP users from utilizing their own discretion when purchasing groceries with the federal government-backed purchases.
Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage has long been pushing for limitations on food stamps, according to the Wall Street Journal, and just sent a proposal to the USDA to ban food stamp users from purchasing soda and candy. The proposal is slightly less restrictive than the bill that passed this past summer in the House of Representatives, which would have banned all junk food SNAP purchases in Maine. The bill went no further than the House and inevitably failed on the Senate floor.
“Like all requests to test changes in SNAP, we will review this carefully,” a USDA spokeswoman said.
In past years, the USDA has denied individual state requests to ban certain items from SNAP purchases, including a proposal from Minnesota, as well as a 2011 request from New York City to restrict food stamp users from purchasing sugary drinks.
According to USDA statistics, the federal food stamp program cost the government nearly $70 billion in benefits last year, down from roughly $76 billion in 2013.