Blog Posts > Five Scary Charts About West Virginia in 2021
October 29, 2021

Five Scary Charts About West Virginia in 2021

It’s Halloween week — time to get spooky! Who needs ghost stories when you have spine-tingling bars and trend lines? Our newest blog post highlights five ghoulish charts about West Virginia in 2021 that should make you shudder (and fight for needed change!).

Topics explored include state job loss, ongoing unemployment, prematurely terminated federally-funded unemployment benefits, poverty, and the Child Tax Credit.

Read Sean’s full blog post here.

Investing in West Virginia to Create Opportunities and Renew Our State

This blog post, co-authored by the Keystone Research Center’s executive director Stephen Herzenberg and the WVCBP’s senior policy analyst Sean O’Leary, was originally published by the ReImagine Appalachia coalition.

West Virginia is at the center of the national political storm surrounding the need to invest in infrastructure, in families, and in combating climate change. Notably, West Virginia is also one of the states with the greatest needs and that stands to gain the most from the legislative packages under consideration, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF) and the Build Back Better (BBB) Act or reconciliation bill.

In this blog post, we highlight investments in climate infrastructure that would particularly benefit West Virginia. We include items that Senator Manchin is on the record supporting or that we think Senator Manchin should support based on his other positions and values. Our agenda — not hidden — is to encourage Senator Manchin to “close the deal” by winning more vital federal investments for his home state, not less investment across the country. We know that many community, faith, and labor leaders in West Virginia also have been emphasizing the potential of these bills for the state and hope the specifics in this blog post are valuable in their advocacy efforts.

The ReImagine Appalachia campaign in which we participate is a strong supporter of the BBB Act and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Together, these two bills are a once-in-a-generation chance to respond to the climate crisis while repairing our nation’s infrastructure, jumpstarting a 21st century clean economy, and delivering the good jobs for which many West Virginians hunger. West Virginians are ready to get to work on addressing our climate and opportunity crises and these bills would give them the tools that they need. 

Read the full blog post here.

Enhanced Child Tax Credit Likely to Remain Work Requirement-Free, Despite Manchin Efforts

Last week, it was reported that Senator Manchin was calling for a significant weakening of the enhanced Child Tax Credit (CTC) as part of his proposal to scale back the Build Back Better agenda. A recent article, including insight from the WVCBP’s Rhonda Rogombe, provides the latest details on the status of the expanded CTC extension. Excerpt below:

According to national news reports, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has suggested imposing work or education requirements and a family income cutoff around $60,000 to continue qualifying for the enhanced Child Tax Credit. Originally implemented through previous COVID-19 relief legislation, this enhanced version increased the money families receive, the proportion of families receiving it and the speed at which they receive it.

Manchin’s office didn’t say this week what his current position is on this enhanced Child Tax Credit, which is part of continued negotiations over Democrats’ imperiled legislation to expand the social safety net and help address climate change.

On Wednesday evening, HuffPost reported Congressional Democrats no longer expected having to add a work requirement for the enhanced Child Tax Credit, but they expected the legislation to now only extend the benefit for one more year instead of through 2025 or longer.

Read the full article here.

Manchin Pushing Back Against Climate Policies Despite Their Benefit to West Virginians

It’s no secret that Senator Manchin has found himself in a position of extreme power as the most conservative member of a Democrat-controlled Senate. As of late, he’s been using that influence to fight against policies that would largely benefit the people of his state. A recent article, including data from a 2019 WVCBP report, explores how Manchin’s sway is hampering the national effort to combat climate change. Excerpt below:

A drive through West Virginia’s countryside reveals a patchwork of communities battered by the climate crisis and barely held together by deteriorating infrastructure. Yet Manchin – balking at a $3.5tn price tag of Biden’s reconciliation bill – is busy trying to strip out many of the policies that would try to tackle these crises that are so seriously affecting many of his fellow West Virginians.

West Virginia, a landlocked state, leads the nation in the number of infrastructure facilities – hospitals, fire stations, water treatment plants, power stations – located on land prone to severe flooding. It even beats out Louisiana and Florida. Of course, the climate crisis is seeing flood events hit record levels across the US.

When power outages – some of the longest and most frequent in the nation – hit the state, they are often lethal, a reality made clear when a single flood event in 2016 took out power for over half of the state’s homes and killed 23 people in 12 hours.

National news outlets have been quick to connect the financial dots on Manchin. Clean energy initiatives could affect his bottom line in multiple ways because that bottom line is joined at the hip to one of the biggest drivers of climate change in the world: the fossil fuel industry.

Put simply, the US senator is blocking legislation that would demand better of the dirty energy companies that make up his investment portfolio and his 2022 election cycle contributors list. And, he’s doing so to the environmental, social and economic detriment of his state.

Manchin’s own coal company, which he formed before assuming public office, has earned him $5.2m in dividends over the past 10 years. Manchin also has received more money from oil and gas companies than any other senator in next year’s election.

Read the full article here.

Join Us at Smart Justice Advocacy Days!

The WVCBP is a proud member of the West Virginia Criminal Law Reform Coalition. In January 2021, the coalition hosted a virtual Criminal Justice Reform Summit to build knowledge and awareness of the myriad flaws and prejudices currently ingrained into West Virginia’s criminal legal system. Now, we’re hoping to translate that knowledge into action through the Smart Justice Advocacy Days event. We hope you join us.

To gear up and get organized to advocate for systemic changes to our state’s criminal legal system, the coalition is hosting a series of three virtual learning sessions providing the lay of the land and diving into some issues we’d like to tackle during the 2022 legislative session. These webinars will be followed by an in-person citizen lobbying and story-telling training in Charleston on Sunday, December 5 to prepare participants for our Smart Justice Advocacy Day that will be held on Monday, December 6 at the State Capitol during legislative interims.

We welcome you to join us in any and all ways you are able! Please know that your inability to attend any one component of this event does not preclude you from participating in the convening’s other pieces (all of which are free!). We would love to have you fighting alongside us in whatever way makes sense for you.

For more information, check out the event landing page and registration here, and follow the Facebook event here for ongoing updates and reminders.

We hope to see you there!

Reimagining Justice in West Virginia

Check out this opportunity from our partners at the American Friends Service Committee to participate in an incredible virtual conference on restorative justice in West Virginia. The conference will take place on Nov. 19 and 20. Keynote speakers include Howard Zehr, Kay Pranis, and Ash-Lee Henderson.  

Spaces are limited so register today!

Register Today for the WVCBP’s 2022 Budget Breakfast

Join us for our 9th annual Budget Breakfast!

Each year, the WVCBP holds this event to provide analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget. You’ll hear from our executive director, Kelly Allen, our senior policy analyst, Sean O’Leary, and our chosen keynote speaker, to be announced closer to the event.

Please find further event details below. You can purchase a ticket for the event here.

WHAT: WVCBP’s 9th Annual Budget Breakfast
WHEN: January 21, 2022. Breakfast will be available starting at 7:30am. The WVCBP’s analysis of the Governor’s 2023 proposed budget will begin at 8am, followed by keynote speaker presentation and time for Q&A. 
WHERE: Charleston Marriott Town Center (200 Lee Street East, Charleston, WV 25301)

  • Kelly Allen, WVCBP executive director
  • Sean O’Leary, WVCBP senior policy analyst
  • Keynote Speaker (to be announced)

PLEASE NOTE: The cost of a single standard ticket is $50, but if you take advantage of our Early Bird Special (available to all who register by 12/31/21), you will receive $10 off.

We appreciate your support of the WVCBP and our work, and we hope to see you in January!

Share Your Medicaid Experience with Us!

The WVCBP’s Elevating the Medicaid Enrollment Experience (EMEE) Voices Project seeks to collect stories from West Virginians who have struggled to access Medicaid across the state. Being conducted in partnership with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, EMEE Voices will gather insight to inform which Medicaid barriers are most pertinent to West Virginians, specifically people of color.

Do you have a Medicaid experience to share? We’d appreciate your insight. Just fill out the contact form on this webpage and we’ll reach out to you soon. We look forward to learning from you! 

You can watch WVCBP’s health policy analyst Rhonda Rogombé and West Virginians for Affordable Health Care’s Mariah Plante further break down the project and its goals in this FB Live.

Urge West Virginia’s US Senators to Support the Build Back Better Agenda

Earlier this year, our federal policymakers sent money to families so people can pay their rent and put food on the table, helped school districts protect teachers’ health and get kids back into the classroom, and boosted vaccine distribution—all of which will help accelerate our economy and address the immediate health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

Congress acted because we raised our voices together and demanded help. With short-term relief on the way, now Senator Manchin and Senator Capito need to look to our future and pass economic recovery legislation that ensures everyone can thrive, no matter what we look like or where we come from.

Our elected officials are negotiating recovery legislation now, so it’s time to make yourself heard again. Tell them you want our government to support working families and invest in our economic recovery by making health care coverage more available and affordable, permanently expanding relief for struggling people, and ensuring children get the support they need to succeed.

Please join us in urging Senators Manchin and Capito to support the Build Back Better Agenda by sending them a letter here.

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