Legislators in Washington and Atlanta are about to get busy. Congress reconvened last week and the Georgia General Assembly 2018 Session opened yesterday. Both bodies will be making decisions that have a direct impact on people in need. Here at the Food Bank, we will continue to push for policies and programs that reduce food insecurity in our service area and across the state of Georgia.
In Congress, we expect the House and Senate Agriculture Committees to introduce drafts of a new Farm Bill. The Farm Bill is the primary federal vehicle helping all Americans to have access to the nutritious food they need. It authorizes The Emergency Food Assistance Program, which purchases commodity surplus foods and distributes them to food banks; and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps. In addition, the Farm Bill has provisions to reduce food waste and to provide food to seniors 60 and over through the Commodity Supplemental Food Program. With Feeding America, the Food Bank will work to support and protect the expansion of federal nutrition programs to assure families do not go hungry.
Here at home, we will be advocating that the General Assembly pass the Georgia Work Credit, a state-based tax credit modeled on the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Two versions were introduced in legislation last year, and we hope to see further discussion and adoption of a robust tax credit that rewards people for work, supports the local economy, and helps assure that families can afford adequate, nutritious food.
You can help to raise awareness about this effective solution that has now been adopted by 29 states and the District of Columbia. Reach out to your state legislators and ask them to support a Georgia Work Credit. The bill that currently creates the best model for Georgia families is SB 172.
We are often asked about other public policies that affect the people we serve, especially those related to healthcare access. Although the Atlanta Community Food Bank focuses its own lobbying and education efforts on programs that specifically address food insecurity, we work closely with other nonpartisan advocates and we appreciate their expertise in related areas. To learn more about other important policy solutions that can help Georgians in need, please visit the websites of some of our key partners:
Georgia Budget & Policy Institute: An independent, nonpartisan nonprofit providing research and education on Georgia’s fiscal and economic outlook. GBPI examines budget and tax policies and provides education to inspire informed debate and responsible decision-making to advance their vision of a state in which economic opportunity and well-being are shared among all. GBPI is part of the State Priorities Partnership, a national network of organizations dedicated to providing sound state-level budget and fiscal analysis.
Georgians for a Healthy Future: Provides substantive health policy information to community leaders and organizations, individual consumers, and advocates throughout the state; conducts seminars to equip consumers with the tools to become strong advocates; successfully injects the consumer perspective into hundreds of health care stories in the media; and engages with policymakers to spark policy change for a healthier Georgia.
Voices for Georgia’s Children: a nonprofit child policy and advocacy organization that envisions a Georgia where children are safe, healthy, educated, employable, and connected to their family and community. Our mission is to be a powerful, unifying voice for a public agenda that ensures the well being of all of Georgia’s children.