Texas Leads The Way Toward 45.8M Americans Being On Food Stamps

Vintage U.S. Food Stamps
Vintage U.S. Food Stamps

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or formerly Food Stamp Program, has figures from May 2011. They are not pretty.

In May 2011, there were 45,753,078 participants in the United States.[1. As of August 1, 2011.] That’s an increase of 2.5 percent from April 2011 (44,647,861) and an increase of 12.1 percent from May 2010 (40,801,591).

Which states has the most participants?

1. Texas – 3,954,852
2. California – 3,727,005
3. New York – 3,019,981
4. Michigan – 1,926,072
5. Georgia – 1,794,537

It is worth pointing out that Texas has the highest total number of participants despite having over 12.1M fewer residents (total: 25,145,561) than the most populous state–California (37,253,956).[2. U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census.] Approximately 15.7 percent of all Texas residents are on food stamps; approximately 10 percent of Californians are on food stamps. (It would interesting to see the percentages for the other 48 states.)

One puzzling figure from the May 2011 statistics: 6th ranked Alabama saw its number of SNAP participants double in just one month–1,762,481 from 868,813 in April 2011.

Note: April 2011 statistics are preliminary, and May 2011 statistics are initial (estimates).

[photo via NCReedplayer]

Closing 70 California State Parks = Losing Access To 200,000 Acres

Samuel P. Taylor State Park

California will still close 70 of its 278 state parks, despite state legislators finally approving a quasi-balanced budget.

The soon-to-be-closed 70 state parks represent almost 8 percent of (today’s) total park attendance, 6 percent of existing revenues, and almost 200,000 acres. The latter figure is approximately 15 percent of the total park system land[1. California State Park System, “Statistical Report 2009/2010.”].

Hopefully, local governments can take temporary control of nearby state parks in order to keep them open and restore some potential lost tourism revenues. While the estimated $22 million in savings might be peanuts relative to the nearly $85 billion state budget (PDF), it looks enormous to the many municipalities that are already struggling with budget deficits.

California State Park Closure Map[2. California State Parks, 2011.]

California State Park 2011 Closures

California State Park Closure List

Anderson Marsh SHP
Annadel SP
Antelope Valley Indian Museum
Austin Creek SRA
Bale Grist Mill SHP
Benbow Lake SRA
Benicia Capitol SHP
Benicia SRA
Bidwell Mansion SHP
Bothe-Napa Valley SP
Brannan Island SRA
California Mining & Mineral Museum
Candlestick Point SRA
Castle Crags SP
Castle Rock SP
China Camp SP
Colusa-Sacramento River SRA
Del Norte Coast Redwoods SP
Fort Humboldt SHP
Fort Tejon SHP
Garrapata SP
George J. Hatfield SRA
Governor’s Mansion SHP
Gray Whale Cove SB
Greenwood SB
Grizzly Creek Redwoods SP
Hendy Woods SP
Henry W. Coe SP
Jack London SHP
Jug Handle SNR
Leland Stanford Mansion SHP
Limekiln SP
Los Encinos SHP
Malakoff Diggins SHP
Manchester SP
McConnell SRA
McGrath SB
Mono Lake Tufa SNR
Morro Strand SB
Moss Landing SB
Olompali SHP
Palomar Mountain SP
Petaluma Adobe SHP
Picacho SRA
Pio Pico SHP
Plumas-Eureka SP
Point Cabrillo Light Station
Portola Redwoods SP
Providence Mountains SRA
Railtown 1897 SHP
Russian Gulch SP
Saddleback Butte SP
Salton Sea SRA
Samuel P. Taylor SP
San Pasqual Battlefield SHP
Santa Cruz Mission SHP
Santa Susana Pass SHP
Shasta SHP
South Yuba River SP
Standish-Hickey SRA
Sugarloaf Ridge SP
Tomales Bay SP
Tule Elk SNR
Turlock Lake SRA
Twin Lakes SB
Weaverville Joss House SHP
Westport-Union Landing SB
William B. Ide Adobe SHP
Woodson Bridge SRA
Zmudowski SB

[photo via David Baselt/Redwood Hikes | image via PJ]

Amazon.com Preparing To Collect Sales Tax From California Customers


After years of debate, the California Assembly passed AB 155 on May 31, 2011 that would essentially force online retailers to collect sales tax from state residents.

Introduced by Assemblymember Charles M. Calderon (Dem-58), AB 155 passed by an assembly vote of 52-20, which was voted largely along party lines (Assemblymember Bill Berryhill was the only Republican exception). The bill now heads to the state senate.

Amazon.com has fought sales tax collection basically since its beginning. Now that California is on the verge of leveling the advantage of online retailers over brick-and-mortar retailers, Amazon and other online retailers should prepare for the potential loss of business in the Golden State. Or will they?

Bottom Line: California will lose about 10,000 Amazon affiliates, but gain an estimated one billion dollars in sales tax revenue per year.

Outlook: Will Main Street be restored when customers no longer feel compelled to shop online solely to not pay sales tax on purchases? To be determined…

AB 155 Vote History


Luis A. Alejo (Dem-28)
Michael Allen (Dem-7)
Tom Ammiano (Dem-13)
Toni Atkins (Dem-76)
Jim Beall Jr. (Dem-24)
Bill Berryhill (Rep-26)
Marty Block (Dem-78)
Bob Blumenfield (Dem-40)
Susan Bonilla (Dem-11)
Steven Bradford (Dem-51)
Julia Brownley (Dem-41)
Joan Buchanan (Dem-15)
Betsy Butler (Dem-53)
Charles M. Calderon
Nora Campos (Dem-23)
Wilmer Amina Carter (Dem-62)
Wesley Chesbro (Dem-1)
Mike Davis (Dem-48)
Roger Dickinson (Dem-9)
Mike Eng (Dem-49)
Mike Feuer (Dem-42)
Paul Fong (Dem-22)
Felipe Fuentes (Dem-39)
Warren T. Furutani (Dem-55)
Cathleen Galgiani (Dem-17)
Mike Gatto (Dem-43)
Richard S. Gordon (Dem-21)
Isadore Hall III (Dem-52)
Mary Hayashi (Dem-18)
Roger Hernández (Dem-57)
Jerry Hill (Dem-19)
Alyson Huber (Dem-10)
Ben Hueso (Dem-79)
Jared Huffman (Dem-6)
Ricardo Lara (Dem-50)
Bonnie Lowenthal (Dem-54)
Fiona Ma (Dem-12)
Tony Mendoza (Dem-56)
Mitchell (Dem-47)
William W. Monning (Dem-27)
Richard Pan (Dem-5)
Henry T. Perea (Dem-31)
John A. Pérez (Dem-46)
V. Manuel Pérez (Dem-80)
Anthony J. Portantino (Dem-44)
Nancy Skinner (Dem-14)
Jose Solorio (Dem-69)
Sandré R. Swanson (Dem-16)
Norma J. Torres (Dem-61)
Bob Wieckowski (Dem-20)
Das Williams (Dem-35)
Mariko Yamada (Dem-8)

Total: 52 = 51 Democrats + 1 Republican


Katcho Achadjian (Rep-33)
Paul Cook (Rep-65)
Tim Donnelly (Rep-59)
Nathan Fletcher (Rep-75)
Beth Gaines (Rep-4)
Shannon L. Grove (Rep-32)
Curt Hagman (Rep-60)
Linda Halderman (Rep-29)
Diane L. Harkey (Rep-73)
Kevin Jeffries (Rep-66)
Steve Knight (Rep-36)
Dan Logue (Rep-3)
Allan R. Mansoor (Rep-68)
Jeff Miller (Rep-71)
Mike Morrell (Rep-63)
Jim Nielsen (Rep-2)
Jim Silva (Rep-67)
Cameron Smyth (Rep-38)
David G. Valadao (Rep-30)
Donald P. Wagner (Rep-70)

Total: 20 = 0 Democrats + 20 Republicans

Absent, Abstaining, or Not Voting

Gilbert Cedillo (Dem-45)
Connie Conway (Rep-34)
Martin Garrick (Rep-74)
Jeff Gorell (Dem-37)
Brian W. Jones (Rep-77)
Brian Nestande (Rep-64)
Chris Norby (Rep-72)
Kristin Olsen (Rep-25)

Total: 8 = 2 Democrats + 6 Republicans

[Source via California Legislative Counsel]

[image via Amazon.com]