Posts by Sean O'Leary

April 17, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
How Much Would It Cost to End Child Poverty in West Virginia?

More than 91,000 children live in poverty in West Virginia. At 25.5%, West Virginia has the 4th-highest child poverty rate in the country. The cost of child poverty is high. According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, child poverty costs the U.S. between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion a year,…

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April 11, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
37,000 West Virginia Workers Will be Left Behind by the Trump Overtime Proposal

Last month, the Department of Labor published a proposal to set the salary threshold under which almost all workers are entitled to overtime pay to $679 per week, or $35,308 for a full-year worker, in 2020. While an increase in the overtime salary threshold is long overdue, the current proposal would leave behind millions of workers…

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March 29, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Natural Gas Property Tax Case Could Costs Local Governments Millions

The State Supreme Court heard several cases earlier this month on oil and natural gas property taxes that could have a significant impact on local government and school district finances, and also potentially impact the state budget. At issue is how the State Tax Department calculates production expenses on natural gas wells. When valuing oil and…

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March 14, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
FY 2020 Budget Recap

The 2019 Legislative Session ended last week, with the state budget passed a day early. While every year, the budget undergoes some changes from the governor’s proposal to the final product, this year saw relatively few changes. The FY 2020 budget proposed by Governor Justice includes new spending initiatives and pay raises while avoiding spending cuts…

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March 1, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Will a Severance Tax Cut Put Coal Miners Back to Work? (Probably Not)

On Crossover Day, the West Virginia House of Delegates passed two bills that have the intended purpose of boosting coal production and putting coal miners back to work. Unfortunately, they chose to do so in a very ineffective and expensive way, through cuts and rebates to the severance tax. HB 3142 would cut the severance…

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February 22, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Medicaid Work Requirements are Back, and Still Bad

This week, the West Virginia legislature originated a bill in the House Finance Committee to enact work requirements for Medicaid. The bill quickly passed the committee and headed to the House floor. The bill stems from actions last year, when the Trump administration announced that it would allow states to remove some low-income adults from…

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January 9, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
What to Watch for in the Governor’s Budget

Governor Justice will be making his State of the State address this week, followed by the release of his proposed FY 2020 budget. Here's some key areas of the budget to watch for: Pay Raise and PEIA The governor has previously promised an additional five-percent pay raise for public employees, as well as pledging $100…

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December 26, 2018 by Sean O'Leary
A Severance Tax Cut Would Be Coal in West Virginia’s Stocking

One year after celebrating the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, the West Virginia Coal Association, apparently unhappy with the results of the "most impactful decision to date for the nation’s energy security and stability," is back asking for more, once again calling for a reduction in the coal severance tax. The Coal Association argues that…

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December 18, 2018 by Sean O'Leary
Stronger Family Policies Can Improve Labor Force Participation

West Virginia has historically had one of the lowest labor force participation rates in the country. The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is the share of people 16 years or older either working or seeking work.  A healthy LFPR is a key driver of a society’s economic output per capita and overall standard of living in…

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December 13, 2018 by Sean O'Leary
PEIA Task Force Comes Up Empty on Big Question

Last Spring, Governor Justice formed the West Virginia PEIA Task Force  which was set up to find a long-term solution to the issues facing the West Virginia Public Employees Insurance Agency, namely the growing cost of health care for teachers and other public employees. The deadline for the task force's recommendations was this week, and while…

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