What if we used the wealth from our natural resources to invest in a brighter future for West Virginians instead of sending that wealth out of state?
Our new video out this week shows all the investments we could make in our people and communities if the natural gas severance tax was raised. This tax is largely paid by out-of-state corporations who remove the natural gas from here and send it out of state. Raising it would create a stronger revenue stream for investing in our schools, roads, colleges and universities while making sure corporations pay their fair share.
Watch video here.
Fully investing in our public schools would be a great place to start! Math and reading scores are not where they should be to prepare our students for a successful future. The lowest-performing students are performing worse and experts cite a connection to the state’s opioid crisis and chronic poverty. Read more in this week’s Charleston Gazette-Mail that cites our work.
The Affordable Care Act has been an undeniable success in West Virginia, both in terms of insuring our residents and boosting our economy. Unfortunately, since 2017, our uninsured rate has increased and enrollment in the ACA marketplace has declined sharply. This is likely due to several factors, including reduced Medicaid participation and confusion over the status of the ACA. But there’s one factor- the difficulty many people have affording their health insurance premiums- that could be alleviated with a simple fix.
Marketplace plans cost thousands of West Virginia residents more than they should because our state is one of only three states where insurers aren’t using a technique called “silver loading” when calculating their premiums. For 2020 health plans, affected West Virginia consumers across the state could have saved thousands of dollars if the state had allowed insurers to utilize silver loading.
Read more in Kelly’s blog post.
Today is the last day to submit a comment opposing the proposed Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) rule before the re-opened public comment period closes. A surprise release of data that USDA should have disclosed earlier underscores the deep harm of its proposed rule to limit access to SNAP eliminating food assistance for 3.1 million people and jeopardizing free school meals for nearly 1 million children. Comment here.
Learn more from the Food Research & Action Center.
Please join us for the release of the Criminal Justice Listening Project Report next month at the State Capitol! The West Virginia Criminal Justice Listening Project collected stories about the criminal justice system from over two hundred people around the state.
The majority of those interviewed have experienced incarceration or have had family members behind bars. The individuals surveyed shared their observations as pastors, volunteers, attorneys, correctional officers and staff of community re-entry programs.
The event will take place on Monday, November 18 at 11:00AM in Governor’s Press Conference Room.
Mark your calendar for January 15, 2020 for our 7th annual Budget Breakfast as we kick off the 2020 Legislative Session.