Posts by Sean O'Leary

January 10, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
FY 2021 Budget First Look

The governor's proposed FY 2021 budget has officially been released, with very little in changes from the FY 2020 budget. With revenues stagnating, there is very little in new spending initiatives in the governor's proposed budget, while relying on some one-time budget maneuvers to avoid deep spending cuts. Overall, the proposed FY 2021 base budget…

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December 16, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
$400 Million Business Personal Property Tax Cut is Back on the Menu

With the 2020 legislative session looming, now is as good a time as any to check in on one of the legislature's favorite proposals, eliminating the business personal property tax. Once again, the elimination of the tax is at the top of legislative priorities. And with state revenues stalling and budget cuts likely, the nearly…

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November 26, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Mark Sadd: Taking the Long View on Employment Figures

Charleston Gazette-Mail - Reporters dug into the details of Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement on Monday that the “number of West Virginians who have jobs is now the highest it’s been in more than a decade.” Justice claimed that 19,000 more people were working in the state than a year ago. Read full op-ed. Joining Justice…

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November 7, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Higher Education Funding Cuts Have Hurt Students and the State’s Future

With faltering revenue collections, Governor Justice has ordered a $100 million budget cut for the current budget year, with more cuts likely for the FY 2021 budget. And, as with past budget cuts, higher education appears to be a prime target. This is all happening on the heels of a new report from the Center…

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October 22, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Shrinking Congressional Districts Look for Federal Help

Roll Call - Despite explosive growth in other areas of the country since 2010, about 80 congressional districts have lost significant population over the decade — leaving many looking for help from the federal government. Read article. Some districts may have lost 30,000 or more people through 2018, many of them in manufacturing and mining areas…

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October 14, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Breaking Down More Poverty Data

Last month saw the release of the 2018 American Community Survey from the Census Bureau, which included state level poverty and income data for 2018. As we reported at the time estimated 312,118 West Virginians lived in poverty in 2018, for a total poverty rate of 17.8 percent, the 4th highest in the country. Here are…

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October 9, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Sean O’Leary: Use Economic Data With Care

Charleston Gazette-Mail - Every year, at our Summer Policy Institute, I give a presentation to the students there on finding and working with economic and other data sources. One of the key lessons is that, with economic data, particularly in a small state like West Virginia, there is a balance between timeliness and accuracy. Read…

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September 25, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Revised Federal Data Puts Brakes on WV Income Growth Claims

Charleston Gazette-Mail - West Virginians’ personal income grew at one of the most plodding rates in the nation in the first half of 2019, according to federal data. Read article. New findings released Tuesday from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis shows personal income in West Virginia grew by 1.5 percent in the first quarter of…

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September 24, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Personal Income Growth Cause for Concern, Not Celebration

Earlier this year, Governor Justice, as well as the Chamber of Commerce celebrated the fact that West Virginia had the nation's highest personal income growth in country in the first quarter of 2019, using the single data point as proof that their preferred policies were growing the economy. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce went…

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August 26, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Business Tax Cut Experiment Failed

It has been 12 years since West Virginia began its tax cut experiment, phasing out the business franchise tax and cutting the corporate net income tax rate from 9% to 6.5%, and nearly 5 years since the cuts have been fully in place. While we've explored before why business tax cuts aren't likely to work…

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