Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Sioux 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) In North Dakota, 48.9% of the African-American population is living in poverty. This is the second highest rate in the nation. What programs are in place to specifically help this sector of the population move out of poverty?
2) There is no state EITC program. Is there any movement in the legislature or among organizations to enact one?
3) 11.7% of taxpayers receive the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. This is below the national average of 15%. Is any effort being made to expand the number of recipients of the EITC?
4) North Dakota does not have a Shared Work Program. This program partners the state and employers to prevent layoffs. Why has this program not been tried in North Dakota? Is there any effort to bring one to the state
5) SNAP participation among those eligible is among one of the lowest in the nation. Is there any effort to increase SNAP outreach and participation among those who need it most?
6) There is a 5% sales tax on non prescription medication in the state of North Dakota. Most states exempt these products from tax. Do you know of any effort to do so?
7) Participation in the School Lunch Program and participation in the School Breakfast Program are the 5th and 3rd lowest in the country, respectively. Likewise participation in the Summer Nutrition Program is the 2nd lowest out of all the stats Is there anything being done to increase participation in any of these programs? Has there been an effort to increase the number of food distribution sites?
8) There is neither a WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program nor a Seniors Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program in North Dakota. Is there an effort to introduce either of these programs? If a lack of federal funding is an issue, are any groups or legislators in your state lobbying for increasing the budget of this program?
9) 70% of children living below 200% of the Federal Poverty Line are covered by Government Health Insurance programs. This is below the national average of 73%. Is there any effort underway to extend coverage to more of your states extremely impoverished children?
10) North Dakota has an incredibly high infant mortality rate at 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. It also has an above average obesity rate. What is being done to combat these epidemics?
11) There is currently no state Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program. Considering the cold winters of North Dakota, do you know of any plans to introduce this program?
12) There is no state Pre-K program. Is there any effort being made to introduce one?
13) 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.