Colorado To Study Troubled Food Stamp Program

Colorado’s troubled food stamps administration will get closer scrutiny, thanks to a bill awaiting the governor’s signature.

Colorado has one of the nation’s lowest enrollment rates for people eligible for food stamps. And the state has drawn federal sanctions for how the program is administered.

The new law would allow the state to recoup some the cost of federal fines from counties, if their practices led to the violation.

But Gini Pingenot, legislative director for Colorado Counties, Inc. said that’s counterproductive because it will just leave counties with even less money to administer the food stamps program.

"This funding stream is already not keeping up with demands on it," Pingenot said.

Counties are happier about another provision of the law that requires the state to study what kind of resources and policies would help local governments most efficiently administer the program.

Kathy Underhill, CEO of Hunger Free Colorado, says they’ve seen a wide variation in how much different counties spend to run the program.

"Why is one county able to administer the program more efficiently?" Underhill said. "I don’t know the answer to that. And I’m hoping this study may shed some light"

Underhill says she expects the study to also illustrate that the state needs to give counties more money to run their food stamps programs.