Food Stamp Spending

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COLUMBIA - Taxpayers reacted Monday to data from the Missouri Department of Social Services that reveal of the $1.4 billion Missourians spent in food stamp money during FY2011, more than $45 million of the money was spent outside the state.

"It should be used by people in the state they are claiming from only," said Rex Sanders.

The practice is perfectly legal, as federal law requires food stamps to be usable in all 50 states.

But food stamp beneficiaries spent money in exotic locations by Missouri standards: $40,870 in Hawaii, $27,196 in Alaska, $472,000 in Arizona, and $1.2 million in Florida. Millions were spent in bordering states, with $13.5 million in Kansas and $8.5 million in Illinois.

According to the Missouri Department of Social Services, as of November 2011, 444,191 Missourians enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.