Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Last Frontier State are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need.
Virtually all states have budget deficits and extensive financial problems this year and beyond. The states are also the custodians and administrators of multi billions of dollars of federal assistance programs. State policies related to hunger and poverty contain a great deal of state money that is in short supply right now but much more federal money that can grow as the use of the programs grows.
These state policy questions are meant to begin a conversation about how states can deliver more services to their citizens who are facing extreme long term unemployment, hunger, home foreclosures and loss of health insurance and pensions.
Please read them and let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction that helps those in need, especially the poorest of the poor, the millions of new poor, seniors, returning vets, children and the homeless.
Our intention is to create a place on our website that will highlight policy actions that state based organizations are taking and how they are preceding. We also hope to host a WhyHunger State Policy Award for the best state policies in the U.S.A.
1) Alaska has some of the lowest poverty rates in the nation. It also has the 2nd most equally distributed income across a state’s population. What programs or laws are in place that cause Alaska to be so successful at combating poverty?
2) Alaska has the 6th highest number (21.4%) of people who are not insured. Alaska also has the 4th highest number (13.6%) of children who are not insured. What efforts is Alaska making to provide health insurance for its residents? Have they petitioned the federal government for additional community health centers?
3) There is no state EITC program. Is there any movement in the legislature or among organizations to establish one?
4) Only 11.2% of taxpayers receive a federal EITC. This is among the lowest rates in the country. Is there any effort being made to increase the rate of those receiving the EITC?
5) Alaska does not have a Shared Work Program. Why not? Is there any effort to bring this program to the state?
6) The percent of students who participate in both the School Breakfast Program and the School Lunch Program is well below the national average and among the lowest in the country. Is there any attempt being made to increase participation in both programs?
7) The average daily participation in the Summer Nutrition Program is the 3rd lowest in the country. Is there any effort being made to expand the program through increased advertising or increasing the number of locations where food can be accessed?
8) The average weekly unemployment insurance rate is $219.58. This is the 3rd lowest in the country. Is there any movement to increase the unemployment insurance benefit?
9) There is no State Pre-K Program. Is there any effort to begin a program? Furthermore the high school completion rate is only 64.1%, well below the national average of 85%. What is being done to help insure that more children stay in school to earn their diplomas? Have any of these efforts been successful?
10) What other statewide policies or programs are you aware of that are helping to fight hunger and poverty, or are there any that are responsible for increasing it?
Please let us know what your organization and others in your state are doing to move legislation and policy in a direction to address these questions by contacting Executive Director and Co-Founder Bill Ayres at [email protected].
Feel free to inform us of any mistakes we may have made in any of these questions. Also we would appreciate any comments on policies or statistics that might have been overlooked.