Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Ocean 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.
hat 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?
1) Participation in both the School Breakfast Program and School Lunch Program is 39.9%, below the national average of 45.56%. Participation in the School Breakfast Program is 1/3 the participation in the School Lunch Program. What is being done, if anything, to increase participation to both programs?
2) At $15, the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program and WIC Farmers’ Market Program benefit amounts are below the national averages. Is there any effort being made to increase the amount? Are any individuals or groups pushing for added federal funding for these programs in your state?
3) Participation in SNAP is among the worst in the country. Participation among the working poor is the worst in the country. Is anything being done to increase participation in SNAP?
4) Rhode Island has a considerably low rate of taxpayers receiving a federal EITC. Is there any effort being made to increase the number of people who receive the EITC?
5) The lowest 20% of income earners pay 11.9% of their income in taxes. The highest 1% of income earners pay 5.6% of their income in taxes. What is being done to alleviate the tax burden on low-income individuals?
6) There is currently no state Pre-K program. Is there any effort being made to establish one?
7) Rhode Island has the 5th highest unemployment rate in the country. For those eligible to receive unemployment insurance only 33% do. Is anything being done to increase the percentage of people receiving unemployment insurance?
8) The unemployment insurance average duration in the state of Rhode Island is tied for the 5th highest in the country at 16.7 weeks. What is being done to help the unemployed locate work as quickly as possible?
9) The infant mortality rate at 7.4 is well above the national average of 6.7. Is any effort being made to increase insurance coverage of adults and children in order to lower this rate?
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.