Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the North Star 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) SNAP participation is below the national average in general and among the working poor.Why are the people who need it most, not receiving SNAP benefits? Is there any movement to increase participation among working poor?
2) Minnesota has the 7th highest percentage of African-American’s living below the poverty line. Is there anything being done to help members of this group locate living wage jobs? If so, who is involved?
3) The percent of students who participate in both the School Breakfast Program and School Lunch Program are below average as is participation in the Summer Nutrition Program. Is there any effort being made to increase participation?
4) Benefits for the Seniors Farmers Market Program are below the national average? Is there any effort being made to increase benefit levels for this program?
5) The minimum wage in Minnesota is only $6.15, well below the national average. Is any effort being made to raise the minimum wage at least to the national average?
6) Only 2% of 4 year olds are enrolled in State Pre-K. This is far below the national average of 23%. Why such a low rate? State Pre-K spending per child is nearly double the national average of $4,689. What is being done to increase participation in State Pre-K Programs so that state funding is used efficiently?
7) Only 10.7% of taxpayers receive the federal EITC. This is one of the lowest rates in the country. Is any effort being made to increase the number of recipients of the EITC?
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.