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Gov. Landry explains why Louisiana will not participate in the Summer EBT Program

By Chris Rosato


BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana says it will not be participating in the federal Summer EBT Program that would give eligible families an extra $40 a month per child during the summer months. The state’s Democratic Caucus has blasted Governor Landry for his decision, claiming thousands of kids will go hungry without it.


“As leaders, we have a moral obligation to our children and the future of our state. Childhood hunger can heave lasting consequences. Children cannot learn, develop, or grow strong if they are hungry. We must put our children before partisan politics and do the right thing. We can feed hundreds of thousands of Louisiana children, helping them become intelligent, strong, successful adults. This is a no-brainer. Louisiana must participate in the Summer EBT Program,” wrote Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Matthew Willard (D- District 97).


“I don’t understand it because we’re talking about children, and we’re talking about the state spending around $3.5 million to get $71 million back, which like I said, 600,000 kids stand to benefit from this summer program,” said State Rep. Kyle Green (D- District 83) in an interview on Thursday, Feb. 15.


So the big question everyone’s been asking is what the governor’s logic was in his decision. According to him, the program is no longer needed. In a statement sent to our newsroom on Thursday, Landry’s office said the following:


"Summer EBT is a pandemic era related program that costs $7 million. The pandemic is over. Louisiana already administers robust social safety net programs including SNAP, TANF, FITAP, as well as the Child Nutrition Programs—including the USDA Summer Food Service Program, the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Seamless Summer Option, and WIC. This year, the Summer Food Service Program will offer meals-to-go. Under these numerous programs, every child will be able to receive the meals they need throughout the summer."


“I don’t think the state is in a position to turn down any resources the federal government wants to provide the states to help ensure our kids are adequately nourished,” Rep. Green said.


DCFS Secretary David Matlock wrote the following:


"Every child deserves a safe home, first and foremost, and families deserve a pathway to self-sufficiency. That is our primary mission. Staying focused on that mission, without adding piecemeal programs that come with more strings than long-term solutions, is what will deliver the biggest impact for the children and families we serve."


The state’s Department of Education wrote the following:


"At the conclusion of 2023, the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE) declined to sign a NOI to administer a new federal Summer EBT meals program. LDOE considered it improper to commit Governor Landry and a new legislature to millions of dollars in increased spending toward a new government program. Additionally, LDOE determined that existing meal programs, such as SNAP, WIC, SFSP, and SSO, would remain in effect during the summer of 2024. Further, LDOE secured confirmation from the USDA that Louisiana could still enter into the Summer EBT program beyond January 1."


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