Blog

May 16, 2024 by Kelly Allen, Sean O'Leary
Hope Scholarship-driven Enrollment Decline has Major Impacts on Public Schools and Students

Nearly 250,000 West Virginia children receive their education in the public school system. High-quality public education helps make the American dream possible—at its best, ensuring a strong educational foundation for all children across race, ethnicity, disability status, gender, religion, and socioeconomic background. In addition to public schools educating the vast majority of children in our…

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May 8, 2024 by Rhonda Rogombe
SNAP Restrictions Fail to Connect Vulnerable Residents to Work While Straining Charitable Food Providers

In July 2023, West Virginia reimplemented pre-pandemic time limits for some adults receiving food assistance via the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The time limits apply to adults between 18 and 52 (up to 54 in September 2024) without a documented disability and without children under 18 in the household, often referred to as "able-bodied…

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May 7, 2024 by Sean O'Leary
Reducing Poverty Can Improve Educational Outcomes

One in four children in West Virginia lived in poverty in 2022, the second highest rate of any state in the country. With the state pursuing education reform focused on funneling taxpayer funding out of public schools and into the private sector via the Hope Scholarship, West Virginia's voucher program which is growing more expensive…

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May 2, 2024 by Rhonda Rogombe
Lessons Learned from the Medicaid Unwinding 

The post-pandemic era Medicaid unwinding has been an unprecedented undertaking for Medicaid enrollees, the state agency that oversees Medicaid, health care providers, and health care advocates. The unwinding process highlighted long-standing patterns within the program and offered a wealth of data to the public, providing necessary insights that can help make health care more accessible…

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March 26, 2024 by Sara Whitaker
Legislature Fails to Address Incarceration Crisis During 2024 Regular Session

Ahead of the 2024 legislative session, there seemed to be broad consensus among lawmakers, Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (DCR) officials, and the public that addressing multiple crises in our criminal system should be a priority. On the surface, legislators seemed ready to take action. Over the course of the 2024 regular session, more than…

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March 6, 2024 by Sean O'Leary
Efforts to Cut Unemployment Based on False Premise

Earlier this week the House Finance committee passed SB 841, hastily drafted legislation that would make major changes to the state’s unemployment insurance system to the detriment of the state’s workers. These changes include cutting the number of weeks of unemployment benefits available to the state’s unemployed workers, reducing overall benefits for many workers, and…

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March 5, 2024 by Sean O'Leary
February’s Weak Revenue Numbers Warning of Things to Come

Now that West Virginia families and businesses are filing their 2023 taxes, the state is beginning to see the full impact of tax changes enacted last year. February's revenue collections were historically weak, coming in 30 percent, or $124 million, below last February's collections. February's revenue numbers are the worst in at least a decade…

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March 4, 2024 by Kelly Allen
HB 5159 and HB 5162 Weaken Child Labor Protections, Increase Risk of Dangerous Work

After 100 years of progress, child labor violations in the United States are soaring, and corporate interest groups are pushing coordinated efforts across states to roll back critical child labor protections, with at least 12 states enacting harmful rollbacks. In West Virginia, the House of Delegates passed HB 5159, which would weaken child labor protections…

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March 1, 2024 by Kelly Allen
To Comply With the Feds, West Virginia Must Pass a Strong Budget

This week we got our first look at the House and Senate versions of the FY 2025 budget. Both the Senate and the House proposed budgets came in far below the governor’s proposed budget, even as the governor’s budget proposal is $450 million below pre-pandemic FY 2019 expenditures after adjusting for inflation. And while legislative…

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February 22, 2024 by Sean O'Leary
West Virginia Growing More Reliant on Volatile Severance Tax Revenue

West Virginia's revenue collections are down $378 million compared to this time last year, in large part due to a collapse in severance tax revenue. At this point in FY 2023 West Virginia had collected $631 million in severance tax revenue, while this year the state has only collected $168 million as a result of…

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