Wisconsin court ruling means food aid cuts will begin in May
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — One day will likely cost some Wisconsin residents one month’s worth of food aid.
Last week’s Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling striking down Gov. Tony Evers’ COVID-19 emergency order means that next month the state will begin losing more than $50 million per month in emergency supplemental FoodShare benefits, the state Department of Health Services confirmed Wednesday.
The court order came out on March 31. DHS spokeswoman Elizabeth Goodsitt said if the Supreme Court would have allowed the governor’s emergency order and mask mandate to last for one more full day, into April, FoodShare members would have been covered by the federal government at least through the month of May, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Lawmakers were aware of the cuts but the timing was unclear until now.
Goodsitt said Evers’ public health emergency allowed the state to capture $57.5 million in increased benefits for about 255,000 households each month, amounting to an additional $500 million since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force, said there were 771,186 individuals across the state enrolled in FoodShare in February.
“Now we’re faced with another set of circumstances where we have to figure out how to do an emergency order that would be satisfactory to both the governor’s office and the Republican Party,” Tussler said. “That’s really the rub.”
Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a statement that Evers shouldn’t have vetoed a Republican bill aimed at both ending the emergency order and preserving food aid. He said Republicans will discuss options when they reconvene in the coming weeks.