Illinois added nearly three times more people to its food stamp program than it added in jobs over the past year – just another confirmation that the state’s economic model is failing.
Between February 2012 and February 2013, Illinois added nearly 200,000 new enrollees to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In contrast, Illinois added only 68,400 non-farm payroll jobs during that same time period.
This disappointing news comes on top of the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics labor release that reported Illinois has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation. At 9.3 percent, the state’s unemployment rate is significantly higher than the 7.6 percent national average.
Poor job creation is causing Illinoisans’ dependence on food stamps to rise. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that in February 2013, Illinois was the only state in the country to report a year-on-year, double-digit increase in the number of people signing up for food stamps.
Over the past decade, the numbers look even worse. The state added nearly 1 million residents to food stamp programs, while suffering a net loss of more than 200,000 payroll jobs.
The state’s failed fiscal policies of higher taxes and overspending are destroying jobs and increasing government dependency. Sixteen percent of Illinoisans are now reliant on food stamps.
But Illinoisans shouldn’t depend on food stamps to make ends meet. Instead, they need stable jobs and real opportunities to provide for their families and prosper.
Illinois should embrace free market ideas that end government dependence and restore prosperity to the state. The Illinois Policy Institute has created a plan that does just that.