March 2, 2021 by Kelly Allen, Sean O'Leary
With Significant Tax Reform on the Table, Lawmakers Lack Complete Picture of WV’s Future Budget Needs

It’s now been almost four months since Governor Justice announced that his top priority for the 2021 West Virginia legislative session would be eliminating the personal income tax. But despite the time elapsed, we’ve yet to see a plan put to paper. That’s likely because it’s really difficult to eliminate the state’s largest source of…

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March 1, 2021 by Quenton King
HB 2257 Won’t Improve Reentry in West Virginia

The West Virginia Legislature is one-fourth of the way through the 2021 session, and thus far the focus has largely been on areas other than criminal justice. Legislation concerning criminal law that has been passed out of committees includes a juvenile restorative justice program and several bills that enhance sentences for certain crimes. Last Friday,…

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February 23, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
TANF Drug Use Screening Harmful to Low-Income West Virginians

In 2017, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) launched a three-year pilot program that screened drug use among recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Otherwise known as WV WORKS, TANF provides cash assistance for low-income families and helps with child care, skills training, and job searching. As the pilot…

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February 19, 2021 by Kelly Allen
Hope Scholarship Would Be Nation’s Broadest, Likely Most Costly ESA Program Despite Lack of Evidence of Equitable Education Outcomes

This week the West Virginia House passed HB 2013, the Hope Scholarship Program. After concerns about the growing costs of the proposal, the bill was sent back to House Finance for further consideration. This is a necessary move, as the program is much broader and potentially much more costly than any similar Education Savings Account…

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February 15, 2021 by Kelly Allen
Several Bills Being Considered that Could have Sweeping Impacts on Public Education Funding

The West Virginia legislative session began on Wednesday, February 10 and legislators have wasted no time rolling out their priority bills. Several bills with major fiscal impacts are being moved quickly, raising worries of whether lawmakers have had adequate time to thoroughly consider individual bills — much less to consider how the interaction of numerous…

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January 28, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
How Do You Pay for a $2.1 Billion Tax Cut?

Urge your legislators to protect revenues by taking action here. We've covered Governor Justice's and legislative leadership's goal of eliminating the state's personal income tax from several angles over the past few weeks, showing that states without income taxes aren't growing any faster than states with the highest income taxes, that eliminating the income tax…

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January 27, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
Addressing Uninsured Black West Virginians is Essential to State’s Wellness

The COVID-19 pandemic has both underscored and exacerbated Black Americans’ health disparities across the United States. While this pattern has garnered national attention, West Virginia has been less successful in identifying and quantifying similar patterns, in part because Black West Virginians comprise less than 4 percent of the population, or roughly 64,500 people — well below the national average of 13…

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January 21, 2021 by Quenton King
Criminal Justice Priorities for the 2021 Legislative Session

February 10 marks the beginning of West Virginia’s 85th Legislature, and with this session lawmakers will have the opportunity to build upon their 2020 criminal justice reform efforts. The following are the criminal justice priorities for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Immediately Protect Incarcerated People and Correctional Facility Staff Evidence is clear…

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