Commentary

Prominent NC lawmaker calls for food donations months after slashing food assistance

State Rep. Nelson Dollar

State Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Wake County Republican and chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee authored an interesting tweet earlier this morning. As you can see below, Dollar is, to his credit, concerned about shortages at the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

While certainly laudable, Dollar’s call for donations comes with a healthy helping of bitter irony. This is because it is Dollar and his colleagues at the General Assembly who have been waging a sustained war on the public structures and systems that combat hunger and lower demand for the services like, you guessed it, the Food Shuttle.

The list of such service cuts is, of course, a long one and stretches back to the infamous and disastrous 2013 decision to take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the pockets of the state’s jobless workers by wrecking the state’s unemployment insurance system. But Dollar can’t plead amnesia. It was just last year that North Carolina implemented harsh, unnecessary and destructive cuts to eligibility for SNAP — better known as Food Stamps. And as the Budget and Tax Center reported last summer, those cuts did exactly what was predicted: they made sure thousands of low income North Carolinians couldn’t get even the bare bones supplement that SNAP provides.

All in all, however well-meaning Dollar’s tweet this morning was, it ultimately amounted to an utterly maddening case of stunning obliviousness, rank hypocrisy or both. Let’s hope that at some point, the light bulb turns on for Dollar and his colleagues and they realize that they possess the tools that could solve many of the problems confronting service providers like the Food Shuttle. Sadly, however, this seems unlikely to occur anytime soon.

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