Blog

August 31, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
Federal Relief Programs Cut Poverty in West Virginia by 71 Percent

Thanks to the programs enacted through COVID-related federal relief legislation this past year, an estimated 301,000 fewer West Virginians were living in poverty this year than would have been otherwise, a reduction of 71 percent, according to an analysis from the Urban Institute estimating the state's Supplemental Poverty Measure. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) measures…

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August 25, 2021 by Rhonda Rogombe
Four Priorities for ARPA Funds

As the federal government continues to disperse emergency funds across the country, West Virginia lawmakers and advocates alike must focus on how the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) can further the state’s health, workforce, and economic recovery. ARPA was signed into law in March 2021. Amongst other provisions, the legislation includes expansions to food assistance, housing support, unemployment benefits, tax credits for working families, and…

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August 19, 2021 by Seth DiStefano
Data Already Showing Positive Impacts of Child Tax Credit, Though More can be Done to Ensure Benefit Reaches All Children

Recent data from the United States Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey shows a significant decrease in food insufficiency immediately after households received the first advanced payment of the newly expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC), with the largest decline in hunger being among households with children. While the data is already showing the immediate benefits of…

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August 12, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
Ending Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Failed to Increase Employment and Instead Increased Hardship in West Virginia

On June 19, Governor Justice ended all federally funded pandemic unemployment benefit programs, 12 weeks before they were set to expire. The benefits -- which included an extra weekly $300 payment to unemployed workers, as well as extended eligibility both for workers who had exhausted their regular weeks of eligibility and for self-employed workers and…

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August 10, 2021 by Quenton King
West Virginia’s Prison Mortality Rate Second-Highest in the Country

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, criminal justice experts and advocates have focused on ensuring the safety of incarcerated people from the virus. But even before the pandemic, jails and prisons were unsafe places for the people incarcerated within them. According to the latest report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) on mortality…

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July 28, 2021 by Kelly Allen, Rhonda Rogombe
Dental Benefit Already Making a Significant Impact in West Virginia

At the beginning of this year, West Virginia began offering a dental benefit for adults over the age of 21 who are enrolled in West Virginia Medicaid. This was a result of SB 648, a piece of legislation passed in 2020 which the WVCBP, the West Virginia Oral Health Coalition, and many partners and community members advocated on…

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July 22, 2021 by Quenton King
A Look at Student Loan Debt in West Virginia

Federal student loan debt has more than tripled since 2007, jumping from $516 billion in 2007 to nearly $1.6 trillion in March 2021. West Virginia borrowers hold $6.5 billion of that debt. The freeze on student loan payments and the temporary zero percent interest rate have been a relief to borrowers since implemented in March…

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July 13, 2021 by WVCBP
Strong Unions Serve an Essential Role for Black Workers in West Virginia

This post was written by the WVCBP's summer research associate, Myya Helm. Throughout West Virginia’s history, labor unions have played a significant role in bargaining for higher wages and better benefits for workers. During the peak of unionization, West Virginia’s workers enjoyed higher wages, stronger economic output, and lower income inequality than workers in many…

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July 8, 2021 by WVCBP
Children in Foster Care Must Be Considered in Addressing Academic Losses with American Rescue Plan Act Funding

This blog post was written by the WVCBP's summer research associate, Tamicah Owens. The closing of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic, while necessary, created a myriad of issues for learners and parents. Teachers and schools in some areas were able to quickly transition to virtual schooling for students. However, some student populations suffered higher levels of academic losses…

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July 7, 2021 by Sean O'Leary
Signs of Caution in West Virginia’s FY 2021 Surplus

While the COVID-19 pandemic created havoc in the state's economy over the past year, the state's revenue collections have exceeded expectations. West Virginia ended FY 2021 with total general revenue collections of $4.989 billion, which is $413 million above the original estimates for the year. And while Governor Justice celebrated the revenue report as being…

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