Happy holidays from all of us at the WV Center on Budget and Policy!
This week Governor Tomblin said, “After much discussion with parents and folks in the childcare industry, I decided it’s not in the best interest of West Virginia families to move forward with the scheduled changes to our state’s childcare subsidy. We still have work to do; these programs are not sustainable with our current level of funding, but at this point, I believe it’s best to keep hard-working families in the program and to look for other ways to address the budget shortfalls.” This is good news for West Virginia’s low-income working families and is the topic of a WVCBP report issued last month that describes how this important funding helps families stay out of poverty.
West Virginia’s children face high levels of poverty and this contributes to truancy, childhood obesity, and high school dropout rates. A WVCBP report prepared for the WV Afterschool Network looks at the role afterschool programs can play in alleviating these problems. In addition, it maps the locations of afterschool programs in West Virginia against a range of educational, poverty, health, and economic measures. These maps can help afterschool advocates identify communities that may need additional support and attention. Read report.
One way to help pay for important programs like childcare is to tax Internet sales. This week, Ted Boettner was quoted in the Charleston Gazette stating that “Each year West Virginia loses millions because it does not tax Internet sales. Like most states, West Virginia taxes the in-store sales of physical books, movies, software and games but when these products are delivered digitally over the Internet, sales taxes do not apply.” Taxing Internet sales would also level the playing field for local small business owners. More information is available in this release from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In his third installment on personal property taxes, Sean O’Leary explained what’s at stake for municipalities if the personal property tax is elimated.
West Virginia has a large share of low-wage occupations. One way to provide better paying jobs for people is through unionization. Read more in Stuart Frazier’s blog post in response to Michigan’s new right-to-work legislation.
Sean also blogged some clarifying information in the discussion over West Virginia being ranked 2nd in terms of tax incentives to attract business. Information reported in this Sunday’s Gazette-Mail claimed that the NY Times article citing the rankings was inaccurate. Regardless of numbers you believe to be correct, West Virginia does little to evaluate the effectiveness of its tax breaks.
Next Budget Beat: January 4. Happy New Year!
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