Budget Beat

September 17, 2021 by WVCBP
West Virginia’s Unemployment Rate is Back to Normal, but the Economy is Far From Recovered for Everyone

While the newest jobs numbers indicate that some areas of West Virginia’s economy are recovering, the job market is far from pre-pandemic levels and employment gains have not been equally distributed. Further, increasing COVID-19 cases remain a threat to workers’ health and the economy. While the state has seen relatively steady job growth in recent…

Read More
September 10, 2021 by WVCBP
Racial Divisions Distract the Working Class from the Real Problem

Racism has long been weaponized in order to divide workers, but unions have the unique power to bring people with varying identities together. The time has come for the working class to form a united front once again. One of the greatest weapons that individual workers have against companies and corporations is unity. Class solidarity…

Read More
September 3, 2021 by WVCBP
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 poverty after taking into…

Read More
August 27, 2021 by WVCBP
State of Working West Virginia 2021: Labor, Race, and Solidarity

State of Working West Virginia 2021: Labor, Race, and Solidarity is out now! The 14th edition of the WVCBP's State of Working West Virginia series explores the interrelated declines of worker power and economic equality in the Mountain State. The report was written in three parts. Part 1 examines the economic transition that took place in…

Read More
August 20, 2021 by WVCBP
American Rescue Plan Act’s Education Funds Can Address Inequity in West Virginia’s Public Schools

It is no question that students in West Virginia and across the country suffered academic losses in connection to COVID-19’s impacts on instruction and learning time. Our new issue brief explores how American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) education funds can be utilized to address these losses, as well as longstanding challenges and racial inequity in West Virginia…

Read More
August 13, 2021 by WVCBP
Ending Enhanced Unemployment Benefits Failed to Increase Employment and Instead Increased Hardship in West Virginia

In June, Gov. Justice prematurely ended all federally funded pandemic unemployment benefit programs. These enhanced unemployment benefits, which the governor terminated 12 weeks before required, have played a major role in West Virginia’s economic recovery. The governor justified his decision to end the enhanced benefits by claiming that doing so would encourage people to return to work.…

Read More
July 30, 2021 by WVCBP
Dental Benefit Already Making a Significant Impact in West Virginia

As a result of SB 648 (passed in 2020), this year West Virginia began offering a dental benefit for adults over the age of 21 who are enrolled in WV Medicaid. Our newest blog post takes a look at how this new benefit has impacted WV Medicaid members. Nearly one in five West Virginia adults gained access to dental benefits via Medicaid this…

Read More
July 16, 2021 by WVCBP
Strong Unions Serve an Essential Role for Black Workers in West Virginia

In her first blog post for the WVCBP, summer research associate Myya Helm explores the decline in worker power in West Virginia since the 1980s and highlights the role of organized labor for the state's Black workers and how unions are critical to the pursuit of equity in the workforce. Despite ample evidence that unionization…

Read More
July 9, 2021 by WVCBP
Signs of Caution in West Virginia’s FY 2021 Surplus

West Virginia FY 2021 revenue collections are $413 million above estimates, but as of May 2021, the state was still down 36,000 jobs. How is this possible? Our new blog post breaks down a few significant contributors: delaying Tax Dayreceiving an influx of federal COVID relief dollarsbeginning with relatively low revenue estimates These crucial pieces of…

Read More
July 2, 2021 by WVCBP
2021 Regional Jail Cost Freeze is Not a Long-term Solution to the Overcrowding Crisis

Last week, the Legislature provided a one-year relief to county governments by freezing the current regional jail per diem at $48.25, rather than allowing it to increase as scheduled to reflect the true daily cost of jail incarceration, nearly $55. Our new blog post explains why this temporary relief is simply a band-aid fix for county budgets…

Read More