Posts by Sean O'Leary

May 29, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Five Major Federal Tax Credit Proposals and What They Would Mean for West Virginia

Lawmakers in Congress have recently announced five different proposals to either expand existing tax credits of create new ones. While each proposals has its differences, each one would also benefit low- and moderate-income people, particularly in West Virginia. Low- and middle-income West Virginians would see much greater benefits under any of the tax credit proposal…

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May 23, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Poverty Can’t Be Ignored When It Comes To Education

With a special session on education reform looming, the Chamber of Commerce has weighed in with a "comprehensive" report on education outcomes in West Virginia. Like their previous report on the subject, the Chamber analysis focuses solely on education spending, concluding that West Virginia educational outcomes are too low despite the amount the state is…

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May 16, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
66,000 West Virginians Earn Less Than The Minimum Wage

While a number of states took action recently this year to increase their minimum wages and expand overtimes protections, West Virginia moved in the opposite direction. SB 377, which passed and was signed by the governor, exempted seasonal amusement park workers from being eligible for overtime pay, while HB 2048, which was introduced by not taken…

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May 6, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Scholarship Tax Credits Share the Same Flaws with Education Savings Accounts

With this month's Special Session on education reform looming, Speaker Hanshaw has floated the idea of replacing one controversial policy proposal, Education Savings Accounts (ESA), with another, tax credit scholarships. Like ESA's, tax credit scholarships are another voucher-like policy that create financial incentives for students to leave the public school system and enter into the…

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April 29, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
The Where and the How of West Virginia’s Population Decline

West Virginia has made headlines recently for its continued population decline. And recently released population estimates from the Census Bureau show that only a handful of West Virginia counties have been immune from the dropping population. Between 2010 and 2018, West Virginia’s population fell by an estimated 47,000 people, or a decline of 2.6%. West…

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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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