Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Pine Tree 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) 14.8% of the state population is facing low or very low food security, while 6.7% are facing very low food security. This is among the highest in the country. What statewide organizations are working on correcting this issue?
2) The WIC farmers’ market nutrition program seasonal benefit is only $16. This is below the U.S. average benefit. Is there a movement to increase this benefit? Has the state petitioned the USDA to increase funding?
3) There are no farmers’ markets participating in the SFMNP, only individual farmers. Is there a legislator or organization involved in organizing farmers to participate in this program?
4) Yearly Pre-K spending per child enrolled is $1,686. This is among the lowest in the country. No 3 year olds are enrolled. Is there a movement in the legislature or among parents or educators to increase funding and to initiate a universal program for 3 and 4 year olds? How will new federal funding be used?
5) Maine has the 3rd highest percentage of working poor families who participate in the SNAP program. Are there any special features of this program in your state that might contribute to its successful outreach to families in need?
6) Maine does not have a Shared Work Program. Why not? Is there any effort to bring one to the state?
7) Non-prescription drugs are subject to general sales tax of 5%, is there any effort to exempt non-prescription drugs from being taxed?
8) 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.