Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Nutmeg 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 proceeding. We also hope to host a WhyHunger State Policy Award for the best state policies in the U.S.A.
1. Connecticut has the 3rd most unequal distribution of income in the nation. What is being done, or what can be done, to decrease the gap between low-income and high-income individuals?
2. Connecticut has no state EITC program. Is there any movement in the legislature or among organizations to have one?
3. SNAP participation among the working poor is below the national average. Is there any effort being made to increase the accessibility of SNAP among those who need it most?
4. The number of farmers’ markets that participate in the WIC Farmers’ Market Program and the Senior Farmers’ Market Program are high compared to other states, however the benefits for both programs are well below the national average. Is any effort being made to increase funding for these programs? If so, by whom?
5. Only 16% of 4 year olds are enrolled in State Pre-K; this is below the national average of 23%. Is anything being done to expand State Pre-K and increase enrollment?
6. Connecticut’s high school completion rate of 80.9% and its percentage of people who’ve obtained Bachelor’s Degrees are among the highest rates in the country. What programs are in place that help students remain in school and pursue higher education?
7. The percent of students who participate in both the School Breakfast Program and School Lunch Program is below the national average. The School Breakfast Program has about 1/5 of the participation in the School Lunch Program. Is there any movement to encourage participation in both of these programs?
8. The percentages of mortgage holders and renters spending 30% or more of their income on rent and utilities are some of the highest in the nation. Is anything being done to increase affordable housing? What else can be done to address the issue?
9. Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of taxpayers receiving federal EITC. Is there any effort being made to increase the number of people who receive an EITC?
10. The state of Connecticut has a 6% tax on non-prescription drugs, do you know of any effort to exempt these products from taxes in the future?
11. The lowest income earners pay 12% of their income in taxes while the highest income earners only pay 4.9% of their income in taxes. What can be done to alleviate the tax burden on low-income individuals?
12. 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.