Gov. Gianforte Vetoes Bipartisan Food Assistance Bill, Citing Expense
Montana’s governor vetoed an expansion to food assistance, saying it’s too expensive.
The Republican-sponsored legislation aiming to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables for low-income Montanans received bipartisan support in both the House and Senate before meeting Gov. Greg Gianforte’s veto pen.
Under the proposal, recipients of SNAP benefits would have had a dollar for dollar match when buying produce at participating organizations.
In his veto letter, Gianforte wrote the policy would be duplicative of federal initiatives “at the expense of the Montana taxpayer.” The bill would have required a $95,000 appropriation.
In a fiscal note prepared by the governor’s budget office in February, fiscal analysts wrote that the policy would have minimal impact on the state budget and that the state Department of Agriculture would ensure that the program wouldn’t be duplicative.
Gianforte wrote in his veto that the state could use recent federal stimulus dollars to “reevaluate” the state’s SNAP program.
Discussions about how to use those federal funds are ongoing.