Please read these questions and let us know what your organization and others in the Evergreen 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. Only 6% of 4 year olds are enrolled in State Pre-K. This is below the national average of 23%. What is being done to increase enrollment?
2. Participation in both the School Breakfast Program and School Lunch Program is 43.8%, below the national average of 45.9%. 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?
3. The percent of households who receive LIHEAP benefits is among the lowest in the country. The minimum benefit at $25 is well below the national average of $111.26. Is anything being done to increase the accessibility of LIHEAP and increase the minimum benefit?
4. Washington has the 6th lowest SNAP average monthly benefit in the country at $114.59. What is being done to increase this benefit level for needy families? Who is involved?
5. The rate of homelessness is among the highest in the country while the percent of eligible people receiving housing benefits is also one of the lowest. Is there any effort being made to increase the number of people receiving housing benefits especially those in danger of losing their homes?
6. Washington has high percentages of mortgage holders and renters that pay 30% or more of their income on monthly owner costs/rent and utilities. What efforts have been made to increase the amount of low-income affordable housing?
7. Washington has among the lowest rate of taxpayers receiving a federal EITC? Is there any effort being made to increase the number of state residents who are eligible to receive the EITC?
8. There is a 6.5% tax on non-prescription medicine in the state of Washington. Most states exempt these products from sales tax. Is there any effort to do so in your state?
9. The lowest 20% on income earners pay 17.3% of their income in taxes. The highest 1% pay 2.6% of their income in taxes. What can be done to alleviate the tax burden placed on low income individuals?
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.