Posts by Sean O'Leary

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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July 26, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
WV Economic Growth Leads Nation, but Will It Last?

WOWK-TV - The economic upswing is being credited to a significant increase in coal production, and the construction of natural gas pipelines across the Mountain State. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, West Virginia had the highest state economic growth rate in the first quarter of this year. It also had the highest growth for…

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July 23, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Education Special Session Turns Focus to Corporate Welfare

The special session that once was focused on education reform saw a bill introduced and passed out of committee to help bail out a struggling coal power plant. HB 207 would exempt "merchant power plants" from the state's business and occupation tax. The Pleasants Power station in Pleasants County would be the only power plant…

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July 16, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Is West Virginia the 45th Best State for Business?

Last week, the WV Chamber of Commerce celebrated West Virginia's improving business climate, according to the CNBC Best States for Business rankings. According to the Chamber, West Virginia's improvement from 48th to 45th is proof that the Chamber's preferred policies are working. CNBC's rankings is one of several in a long line of business climate…

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June 27, 2019 by Sean O'Leary
Be Careful Not to Confuse Volatility With Growth

Governor Justice once again drew attention to a strong quarter of personal income growth for the state, with WV having the highest 2019Q1 personal income growth in the country. But, as was the case the last time the governor highlighted this particular statistic, there is more to the story than one quarter's worth of data…

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