Grigsby says state could lose federal aid for Foodshare program

    Milwaukee Democratic Rep. Tamara Grigsby and state Department of Health Services Secretary Dennis Smith appear at odds over the state’s FoodShare program.
    Grigsby says the Walker administration’s "cavalier disregard of federal regulations" regarding the program could cost Wisconsin millions of dollars in federal aid.
    Grigsby’s concerns center around Smith’s response to the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services request that the administration submit a corrective action plan to address the expansion of vendor staff at Madison and Milwaukee Employment Service Centers. The USDA letter, dated May 18, requested that a plan be submitted within a month.
    Smith responded to the letter on June 13. He said Wisconsin has a history of implementing successful changes to public assistance programs that benefit recipients while at the same time saving taxpayer money.
    "The use of vendor staff in the FoodShare program is yet another example of such a change," Smith wrote. "It is extremely unfortunate that the Food and Nutrition Service does not appear to be interested in developing innovative and cost effective changes."
    Grigsby says the response shows the administration intends to ignore the USDA directive.
    "The past six months should be proof enough that legal battles and attacking vital programs for working families represent a backwards strategy for Wisconsin," Grigsby said. "Yet, here we are again in a situation where millions in funding for our FoodShare program could be lost because Gov. Walker won’t listen to reason."
    A DHS spokeswoman didn’t return a call for comment.

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