Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Free 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) Only 69% of children living below 200% of the FPL are covered by government health insurance programs. There is no separate SCHIP program. Is there any legislator or organization creating a movement to institute universal healthcare?
2) The SNAP participation rate is among the lowest in the country. Is there any effort to increase participation in this program?
3) The percent of mortgage holders and renters spending 30% or more on monthly owner costs and rent and utilities are among the highest rates in the nation. Is there any move to create more affordable housing?
4) Maryland does not have a Shared Work Program. Why not? Is there any effort to bring one to the state
5) The infant mortality rate is well above the national average, and the obesity rate is at the national average. Is anything being done to combat these health problems?
6) 41% of those eligible receive unemployment insurance; this is below the national average of 43%. Is anything being done to increase participation?
7) 8.2% of the state budget is spent on corrections; this is above the national average of 6.6%. Is anything being done to reform the corrections system, such as implementing new programs to reduce recidivism or reduced sentencing for non-violent offenders?
8) Only 12.3% of taxpayers receive a federal EITC. This is below the national average of 15%. Is any effort being made to increase the recipients of the EITC?
9) Maryland has among the highest Pre-K enrollment rates and percentage of people who’ve obtained a Bachelors Degree. What about the states educational programs makes them so effective?
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.