You’ve probably heard about the White House’s proposed overhaul of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, formerly known as food stamps—the program would see deep cuts if President Donald Trump’s budget goes forward. But you may not be familiar with another proposal that could also affect the 43 million Americanswho rely on SNAP, as well as the grocers who accept these benefits from their customers.Trump wants to charge grocery stores and other retailers a fee for accepting SNAP benefits to the tune of more than $2 billion over 10 years, with businesses from corner stores to Walmart bearing the cost. Currently, retailers don’t pay a fee to get authorized to accept SNAP benefits, but they are required to register with the Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for overseeing the program.As outlined in the White House’s Major Savings and Reforms—which makes up the budget plan and also A New Foundation for American Greatness—the fees would be on a sliding scale, and would be charged when a retailer first signs up to participate and again when they renew their application every five years. Small businesses, like convenience stores, would pay somewhere in the range of $250 while large supermarket chains would have to shell out as much as $20,000. It’s unclear what type of fee farmers markets and CSAs—many of which now accept SNAP benefits–would be responsible for under the proposal.
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