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Morris Empathizes With Governor
Monday, 07 April 2014

April 7--  A state lawmaker says there's no way to effectively manage the food stamp program in Georgia with the state's current workforce.

Georgia has a backlog of 30,000 applications pending with the Department of Human Services and faces cutoff of $76 million in administrative funds from the federal government if the backlog isn't cleared by May 1.

Governor Nathan Deal hopes to avoid the loss of funds by promising the feds to give each applicant quick approval with the promise that state workers will go back and verify the information of each recipient.

At the same time, a recent report says the state overpaid food stamp users a total of $138 million last year.

State Representative Greg Morris of Vidalia says the real answer is to cut the number of people who can apply.

"I understand the Governor's dilemma in trying to manage what is unmanageable.  There is no way the Department of Human Services can adequately verify eligibility for one in five Georgians without a lot of money being wasted.

"The only way we're going to get a handle on this and cut this waste is to get people off the food stamp rolls and back to work.  Ultimately, this has to come from Washington for there to be a real change in this country in entitlements.

"What we can do in Georgia is use the minimum for eligibility and get people off the rolls.  There's too many people on it and there's no way to manage it.  The only way to do it is to cut people off of it," Morris says.

A bill that would require food stamp users suspected of drug use to take a drug test passed the legislature this year.

Representative Morris introduced the bill.

"I am glad that with the drug testing bill and the photo ID requirement we did spur a lot of interest among citizens and the media.  Now there's a pretty good light being shown on and it's not something being hidden behind a curtain that people don't realize.  I think we're going to bring about a change," he said. 

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