Home Politics Rep. Tom Letson proposes unorthodox way of funding food banks

Rep. Tom Letson proposes unorthodox way of funding food banks

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Ohio’s food banks are perpetually in a state of need for additional economic assistance. But for at least one enterprising Ohio legislator, a portion of the remedy presents itself by way of an unlikely benefactor: college sporting events.

In an ambitious proposition ideated by Democratic Rep. Tom Letson of Ohio’s 64th House District, the state’s food banks would realize marginal funding from pre-season ticket revenue to any sporting event hosted between institutions of higher education- private or public- in the state of Ohio.

How exactly does it work?

For starters, the law would stipulate that only tickets purchased up to six weeks in advance of the beginning of the individual sports season would qualify for the process.

The revenue from the pre-sale tickets would then be loaded into interest bearing accounts, from which the interest accrued would be collected and distributed to various food banks around the state as determined by the Ohio Board of Regents, which provides the oversight on the state’s institutions of higher education.

Letson additionally stressed that only interest compounded – not the principle of the revenue – would be collected from the process.

The Ohio Board of Regents would determine exactly which food banks around the state would receive additional funding based on the per-capita usage of the individual bank during the previous calendar year.

“We’re just trying to help the food banks raise a little extra money,” Letson stated. “After all, the statistics show that one in six Ohio children aren’t certain where exactly their next meal will come from.”

Letson also emphasized that the idea was still in its infancy, and has yet to even receive an official House Bill number.

Despite its only recent conception, the proposal itself has already generated its fair of share of criticism.

In a recent article, The Columbus Dispatch declared that the “intention is good, but the plan is flawed” with respect to Letson’s proposal, describing the process of forcing universities to place ticket revenue into interest bearing accounts as neither a “sound or workable idea.”

According to the USDA, in 2010 Ohio’s food insecurity rate was higher than all surrounding states and the US national average.


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