North Dakota Economic Security and Prosperity Alliance | Blog
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Farm Bill impacts everyone in North Dakota, including our children Lisa K. Dullum, West Fargo SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program formerly known as food stamps, is the front line defense against hunger and food insecurity and is part of the Farm Bill. At this time, the Senate and the House of Representatives each have passed a different version of the Farm Bill. The U.S. House of Representatives’ version includes changes to SNAP that could result in more than 1.2 million people, including children, losing access to critical food assistance each month. Worse yet, it takes money away from food and families to create a new bureaucracy and increase paperwork requirements. And it would place unfunded mandates on state government agencies at a time when states like North Dakota can least afford it. Nearly half of North Dakota’s 53,269 SNAP recipients are children. SNAP kept 6,000 North Dakota children out of poverty in each year between 2009 and 2012. By providing much needed economic support, SNAP allows families to have sufficient nutrition during times of unemployment, fluctuating incomes, and low-wage work. Under the language in the House Farm Bill, children in households losing SNAP eligibility might also lose access to free lunch and breakfast at school. Taken together, it will mean more children going without meals at home and at school. As an educator, I know that coming to school hungry is one of the most serious roadblocks to successful learning. And children whose families don’t have basic food security are much more likely to face other problems at school and are less likely to grow up to become healthy contributing members to society.   I urge Congressman Kevin Cramer to support a Farm Bill in conference committee that looks more like the Senate’s bipartisan version that supports and strengthens SNAP. Our children and our future are counting on you....

The concentration of economic gains at the top of the income ladder and largely stagnant wages at the bottom harm the economic well-being of millions of workers, especially people of color and women.  For example, African American and Latino workers are far more likely than white workers to earn poverty-level wages.[1]  Women represent less than half of the total workforce but roughly 3 out of 5 workers in occupations with low pay.  And African American and Latino women comprise almost twice as big a share of the low-wage workforce as they do the workforce as a whole.[2] State earned income tax credits (EITCs) help people of color and women struggling on low wages afford basic necessities and, studies suggest, contribute to their children’s future success. Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia have enacted their own version of the federal EITC to help low-wage, working households meet basic needs.  State EITCs build on the success of the federal credit by keeping people on the job and further reducing hardship for working households and children. Because people of color and women are overrepresented in low-wage work, the state credits are also an important tool for advancing racial and gender equity. STATE EITCS REDUCE POVERTY AND HELP CHILDREN OF COLOR GO FURTHER Reduce poverty in communities of color.  While state and federal EITCs serve a larger number of white households than any other racial or ethnic group (due in part to population size), they serve a larger proportion of people of color relative to their population size, and the EITC has an outsized impact in reducing poverty rates for households of color.  The average state EITC benefit for non-white- or Hispanic-headed households was $120 higher than for white, non-Hispanic households, a recent study found, and state EITCs lift a larger share of the non-white and Hispanic populations out of poverty. [3]  This partly reflects the targeting of the EITC to working-poor households with children and the high poverty rates for children of color. Child...