Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Green Mountain 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) Vermont does not have a shared work program. This program pairs the state and private employers in an effort to reduce layoffs. Is there any effort being made to establish a program like this in your state?
2) 9.4% of the state budget is spent on corrections. This is 5th highest in the country and well above the national average of 6.6%. Yet Vermont has the 3rd lowest number of people in prison, and equally low numbers of people on parole or probation. Why is so much spent on corrections? Is anything being done to reduce the cost of corrections in Vermont such as alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders and programs to reduce recidivism?
3) Vermont has a low rate of taxpayers receiving a federal EITC. Is there any effort being made to increase the number of people who receive an EITC?
4) The percent of adults living in poverty covered by government health insurance programs is among the highest in the country, as is the percent of children living 200% below the FPL covered by government health insurance programs. What makes participation in these government programs so successful in this state?
5) Vermont has the 9th highest percentage of households with very low food security in the country. What is being done specifically to help this group of people?
6) Enrollment in the state Pre-K program at 50% of four year olds is the 4th largest out of al the states. The high school completion rate at 86.5% is also the 4th highest rate in the nation. What aspects of the education system in Vermont result in such high levels of participation and completion?
7) 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.