BATON ROUGE - Governor Bobby Jindal attempted to defend his plan requiring people on food stamps to get jobs. He claimed mandatory work requirements spurred poor people into the job market but he didn't offer data to support his argument.
In late September, the state agency over food stamps announced it would stop accepting federal money for 60,000 unemployed able-bodied adults who had no dependents. Instead, the Department of Children and Family Services, would help those individuals either find a job or enter a job training program so they could keep getting food stamps.
Tuesday, Jindal claimed victory.
"Half the people that would have been impacted for this have already qualified," he said.
And that could be true, but can't be verified. Several requests for DCFS's public records that would show what role the agency played in assisting the food stamp recipients went unanswered Tuesday.
Incoming Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards said Tuesday he'll reverse Jindal's decision once he takes office in January.
"We want people to find jobs. We want them to continue their education. We want them to get job training. But, we're not going to cut them off from food stamps in the meantime," said Edwards.
The federal government offers food stamp benefits for able-bodied adults because the state's unemployment rate is higher than the national average. Louisiana has received this money for the past 19 years.
The latest data shows there are 31,000 unemployed able-bodied adults with no dependents between the ages of 18-49 receiving food stamps in Louisiana. They make up 3.6% of all Louisianans who receive food stamps. They get an average of $194 a month in food stamp benefits.
In all about 850,000 people in Louisiana get food stamps. The state pays half the administration costs for the program at $55 million a year.