My name is Rod Bordelon, and I am appearing on behalf of the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) testifying in support of Senate Bill 1871 relating to the creation of the Texas Empowerment Account Pilot Program to assist recipients of public benefits in achieving greater self-sufficiency.

The pilot program would provide a voluntary alternative to certain government social safety net programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The purpose of the pilot program is to assist low-income families in gaining greater self-sufficiency while administering the same level of temporary assistance they would be eligible for under SNAP or TANF. It is modeled after House Bill 1483 which was unanimously passed by the 86th Legislature in 2019, but which was never implemented. HB 1483 would have provided intensive case management services within the existing SNAP and TANF programs but required a waiver from the federal government which was never obtained due to its use of SNAP funds and its effect on SNAP eligibility criteria.