Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Hoosier 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) Indiana is one of the few states that do not have a State Pre-K program. The president is investing billions of dollars in Pre-K. Is there any movement in the state to establish a Pre-K program? If so, who is involved?
2) Indiana has the 5th highest percentage of children living in poverty. Are there any efforts underway to reach out to this group? Have they been effective?
3) The infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births is well above the national average. The obesity rate is among the highest in the nation. What is being done to increase the health of Indiana’s citizens?
4) Indiana does not have a Shared Work Program. Why not? Is there any effort to bring one to the state?
5) Indiana has a high number of foreclosures. Is there a program to help owners keep their home? How successful has it been? Who runs it?
6) The benefit for the Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program and the WIC Farmers’ Market Program is lower than the national average. Is there a legislator or organization working on raising this?
7) Non-prescription drugs are taxed at a rate of 7%. Is there any plan on exempting non-prescription drugs from being taxed?
8) The lowest 20% of income earners are paying 11.9% of their income in taxes where as the highest 1% of income earners are only playing 5.3% of their income in taxes. What is being done to alleviate the tax burden placed on low-income individuals?
9) The percent of students who participate in both the School Breakfast Program and School Lunch program is below the national average, as is participation in the Summer Nutrition Program. Is there any effort underway to increase participation? Is there any effort to increase the number of locations which distribute food for the Summer Nutrition Program?
10) A high percentage of jobs (24.6%) pay below the federal poverty line. Is there any effort to increase the minimum wage or introduce a living wage?
11) The TANF cash assistance monthly maximum benefit for a family of 3 is the tenth lowest in the country at $288. Is there any effort to increase this benefit amount?
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.