May 20, 2020 by Kelly Allen, Sean O'Leary
COVID-Related Health Coverage Losses Continue to Mount

A few weeks ago we began raising alarms about the likelihood of a sharp increase in the number of uninsured West Virginians. Over the past eight weeks, 143,000 West Virginians have filed unemployment claims due to job loss and, as we know, most working Americans get their health coverage through their employer. That means that…

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May 19, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
COVID-19 Testing Not Keeping Up with New Incarceration in WV Regional Jails

West Virginia’s regional jails, like correctional facilities around the country, are at greater risk of a COVID-19 outbreak. Social distancing in a prison setting is not possible. West Virginia’s regional jails see a daily flow of staff and newly incarcerated persons in and out of facilities that operate at the edges of being overcrowded. Combined…

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May 14, 2020 by Seth DiStefano
Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens Alone Cannot Meet Increased Need in West Virginia

In order for West Virginia to successfully address food insecurity during the response to COVID-19 and throughout the economic fallout of the pandemic, Congress should immediately increase the maximum SNAP allotment by 15% for all SNAP households. While the House of Representatives’ recently introduced HEROES Act includes this increase in food assistance, it stops short…

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May 12, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Budget Shortfall Could Top $3.6 Billion Through FY 2022

The pressure on the state budget from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout continues to mount. In April, state revenue collections were $192 million below estimates, setting the stage for what could be a total $500 million shortfall by the end of the fiscal year. Moreover, recent economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office…

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May 6, 2020 by Ted Boettner, Seth DiStefano
COVID-19 Reforms in West Virginia are Reducing Incarceration but More Action Needed

It has been well demonstrated that jails and prisons are incubators and amplifiers of diseases and infections because of the tight quarters of correctional facilities. This makes combatting the Coronavirus through "social distancing" and other measures nearly impossible. To that end, West Virginia has taken some measures to slow the spread of the Coronavirus within…

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April 30, 2020 by Kelly Allen, Sean O'Leary
Low-income Earners, Women and Workers of Color First Back to Work under Governor’s Plan

Earlier this week, Governor Jim Justice unveiled his plan for reopening West Virginia’s businesses, dubbed “The Comeback”. Among the businesses slated to open first under his plan are day care centers, restaurants, and professional services including hair and nail salons. West Virginians who work in these sectors will be among the first back to work…

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April 28, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia’s Unemployment Trust Fund May Run Out in Weeks

According to last week's data release, 46,251 initial unemployment claims were filed in West Virginia during the week ending April 18, by far the highest number in state history. Prior to the current crisis, the highest number of initial claims in a week was 5,877, back in 1999. With 104,904 continued claims from the previous…

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April 27, 2020 by Sean O'Leary
Tracking the Coronavirus Economic Impact in West Virginia

Social distancing, closing of nonessential businesses, and stay at home orders have all helped protect lives in West Virginia. But they have also led to record job losses and increasing hardship as people struggle to make ends meet. The restrictions on economic activity that are currently protecting us will eventually be lifted, but the economy…

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April 24, 2020 by Ted Boettner
Tap Reserves and Enact Progressive Tax Policy to Address COVID-19 Economic Crisis

Although Congress allocated $1.25 billion in state fiscal aid for West Virginia in the CARES Act that passed last month, it's highly likely this will not be enough money to shore up state and local government budgets from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. To make matters worse, the U.S. Treasury issued guidance on…

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April 23, 2020 by Kelly Allen, Sean O'Leary
60,000 West Virginians Have Likely Lost Health Coverage Over the Past Month

Much of the conversation on record job losses in West Virginia over the past five weeks has centered on our state’s unemployment insurance system, and with good reason. According to Governor Justice and WorkForce WV, at least 130,000 residents have filed initial unemployment claims since school closures and stay-at-home orders began, and that figure does…

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