In the ten years that Michael Bloomberg has been mayor of New York City, the number of New Yorkers receiving food stamps has more than doubled, from 800,000 in 2002 to 1.8 million in 2012, according to the Independent Budget Office (IBO).
A study by the IBO determined that enrollment in the federal food stamp program in New York doubled over the past decade, despite Bloomberg's attempt post-Hurricane Sandy to limit food stamp usage in certain areas. Still, NYC's rapid expansion of the program remains far below the national average over the past decade.
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Compared to his predecessor Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the data suggests the Bloomberg administration has been more aggressive about reaching out to residents who qualify for enrollment in the food stamps program, IBO spokesman Doug Turetsky told the New York Post.
Over the past decade, the city's federally-funded food stamp program's cost has skyrocketed from $1.28 billion to $3.4 billion, according to the data, which was released Thursday.
Despite the increase, New York Magazine reported that Bloomberg sought to limit food stamp use among Hurricane Sandy victims.
Of 82 city zip codes that were eligible for special post-storm food stamps last November, the Bloomberg administration requested the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) allow only 10 zip codes and two partial zones to use the program, New York Magazine reported.
Bloomberg’s Human Resources Commissioner Robert Doar defended the move in a statement to the New York Daily News.
"Expanding the areas that are eligible for (disaster food stamps), as you suggest, would call into question our commitment to fiscal responsibility at a time when, as you well know, many in Congress are reluctant to authorize the federal relief we need," he said.
Despite the increase NYC's food stamps program, the city is still behind the nation's average growth in the program over the past decade. Since 2001, the food stamp program has quadrupled in the United States and doubled during President Barack Obama's first term alone, The Daily Caller reported.
National food stamps participation in the U.S. hit a record high in December, with more than 47 million people enrolled.
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