Inflation Reduction Act impact on Phoenix: Will it actually help struggling households?

The White House is positive about its plan to fight inflation through the Inflation Reduction Act, but it's a message that's a tough sell for many in Phoenix.

St. Marys Food Bank is certainly feeling the effects of inflation while dealing with the highest demand for their services ever. They're seeing more clients than they did during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have a lot less food now, too, because they were able to get some through government programs during the pandemic. Now, it’s up to them and donors.

"The impact we are seeing day in and day out continues to go up," says Tom Kertis with the food bank. "The families are stressed."

August hit an all-time record for clients served at the food bank. Using their two main food bank locations in Phoenix and Surprise, they saw an average of more than 1,200 families per day in August alone, and staff says September is already on track to be much higher.

"The people that we serve are being impacted by inflation. Obviously, we are seeing the food prices go up, we are seeing the price of gas up, rent, medical costs but even at St. Mary’s, we are having inflation impacting us. We can’t, you know, it takes more dollars to buy food today than it did just six months ago. We are buying a lot of food to fill the need because the need is growing so much," Kertis said. "So the only way to fill that need is by buying."

On Sept. 13, thousands of supporters from across the country gathered at the White House as President Joe Biden celebrated the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, a sprawling new law that’s goal is to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on some billion-dollar companies, and reduce the federal deficit.

Dale Rogers, director of Frontier Economies Logistics Lab with Arizona State, says of the act, "This act does a lot of good things, but it shouldn't have been called the Inflation Reduction Act. That was just clever labeling I think, and not necessarily what it really is."

Data shows that inflation soared 13% in Phoenix last month, a record for any U.S. city going back 20 years or more, and more than twice as high as San Francisco.  Overall, inflation was resurgent in August, as prices rose 8.3% compared to the year before.

"We really haven’t really recovered from those shutdowns and all the other disruptions and so it’s going to be awhile before supply really flows well and that’s unfortunate but I’m thinking it’s probably another year, year and a half before we see that stuff work," Rogers said. "You can compare it to the post World War II period where after World War II it took a while to go back to the production of the industrial economy that we had at the time."

Read more about the Inflation Reduction Act here.