Join us next Friday for our 9th annual Budget Breakfast!
Each year, the WVCBP holds this fundraising 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 keynote speaker, Brian Elderbroom of Justice Reform Strategies.
You can purchase a ticket for the event here. Please note, event registration closes next Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 12pm.
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).
Please note, while the event will be taking place in-person, the presentations will also be streamed live onto our Facebook page to accommodate those who do not wish to attend an in-person event.
We appreciate your support of the WVCBP and our work, and we hope to see you next week!
Since July 2021, most households with children have received monthly enhanced Child Tax Credit payments of $250- 300 per child. However, the enhanced Child Tax Credit was temporary and expired at the end of 2021 unless Congress acts to extend it in 2022 through the Build Back Better Act or other legislation.
If you received monthly Child Tax Credit payments, we’d love to hear how they had been helping your family and how your family has been or will be impacted now that the payments have (at least temporarily) stopped being distributed.
Join us in our advocacy by completing our survey here.
Learn more about what’s at stake if the enhanced Child Tax Credit is not ultimately extended in our blog post here or in recent articles featuring our data here and here.
|During the legislative special session convened by Governor Justice earlier this week, the West Virginia Legislature passed a massive corporate incentive package, despite ample academic research and numerous examples from the state’s own history indicating that these sorts of economic development subsidies largely fail to achieve their goals. As a result, over $300 million in American Rescue Act Funds — intended to provide relief to workers and families as pandemic hardship continues — will instead likely be diverted to fund tax breaks for wealthy corporations. Excerpt below:|
On Tuesday, West Virginia lawmakers were set to hear testimony about an area where the state could be leading the way on economic policy: Elimination of special tax break deals targeted to land specific new development projects.
George Mason University researcher Michael Farren was the key witness. He was going to tell the Legislature’s Commission on Interstate Cooperation that huge incentive packages don’t really work, and describe how West Virginia could help eliminate pointless competition among states trying to land new jobs.
“These subsidies remain a tenacious problem, even as support grows for phasing them out,” Farren planned to tell lawmakers, according to his prepared testimony. “Academic research consistently shows that economic development subsidies fail to achieve their stated goals.”
But by Monday night, Farren’s testimony was off. The committee’s meeting was cancelled.
West Virginia lawmakers, called into special session by Gov. Jim Justice, had been diverted to what elected officials across the spectrum seemed to agree was more important business. That’s right, they were rushing through a huge incentive package, apparently so it could be completed in time for Justice to make a big splash about it during Wednesday’s State of the State address.
A few lawmakers meekly questioned the wisdom of the move. But even more of them ended up voting for the bills put forth by the governor’s office. West Virginians — the taxpayers footing the bill — weren’t even given the name or the specific details of the deal the administration had worked out. Those details are down on paper, apparently in a memorandum of understanding with the company, whose name throngs of insiders know, but won’t say on the record, but the memo hasn’t been made public, despite a specific state law requiring deals that obligated state funds be released.
The scene this week at the Capitol would be remarkable, if it weren’t for the fact that West Virginia’s recent history is littered with economic development incentive plans that were rushed through, and that in the end haven’t lifted the state off the bottom of many lists of positive economic indicators.
Read the full article, including insight from WVCBP senior policy analyst Sean O’Leary, here.
Governor Justice’s State of the State Address this week included the claim that West Virginia is “one of the top states in the entire nation that people are moving to on a percentage basis.” This statement is inaccurate (West Virginia was, in fact, ranked 27th in net migration in 2021). A recent article includes insight from WVCBP senior policy analyst, Sean O’Leary, on West Virginia’s migration trends as of late. Excerpt below:
U.S. Census numbers do indeed show West Virginia had a net migration gain of 2,243 for fiscal 2020-21, but as Sean O’Leary of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy noted, that was hardly unprecedented – or even unusual.
O’Leary, who is something of a savant when it comes to numbers, analyzed U.S Census data and found West Virginia enjoyed positive net migration for 11 straight years, from fiscal 2001-02 to fiscal 2011-12.
Beyond that, in each of those years, the overall state population increased, countering the Republican talking point that the state population has been on a constant, steady decline since the 1950s.
O’Leary’s analysis also shows state population has declined every year since 2012-13, with population losses sharply accelerating in fiscal years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2018-19.
(Even in 2020-21, the year conservatives are touting, overall West Virginia population declined by nearly 7,000 even with the in-migration, as the state death rate far outpaced the birth rate.)
That the sharp drop in state population coincides with Republicans taking control of the Legislature in 2015 is, I believe, no coincidence.
A sizable number of folks saw the Legislature enacting anti-worker, anti-education, pro-discrimination policies and decided West Virginia is not the place where they belong.
Read the full article here or a recent Twitter thread from Sean on the subject here.
West Virginia’s economy continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly two years after impacts were first felt in the state. After historic job losses in the spring of 2020, the state underwent a steep, but partial recovery in the summer. However, growth has been sluggish in recent months, and a substantial jobs gap remains. As of November 2021, total nonfarm employment in West Virginia is still down 25,800 jobs from its pre-pandemic level. Government, health care, and leisure and hospitality jobs make up the bulk of the state’s job shortfall.
West Virginia experienced solid job growth in the first half of 2021, adding an average of 2,100 jobs per month, as expanded unemployment benefits and stimulus checks helped to boost and sustain the economy. However, the federal supports that were boosting the economy have now ended. Along with the expiration of federal support, the rise of the Delta and Omicron COVID-19 variants may have played a role in weakening economic growth. Average monthly job growth in West Virginia was cut in half in the second half of 2021, averaging just 1,040 jobs per month. At that rate, the state will not recover all of the jobs lost during the pandemic until 2024.
Further, state gross domestic product (GDP) growth has also slowed in 2021, and as the state economy generally has slowed down, economic insecurity has begun to rise. In December, 41 percent of adults in households with children, and 35 percent of adults overall, reported difficulty paying household expenses.
While the economy is showing signs of slowing down, West Virginia currently is enjoying a revenue surplus, with revenue collections exceeding estimates by $394 million so far in FY 2022. However, it is imperative to note that this surplus is in large part thanks to rising energy prices, the $12 billion in federal aid that has been pumped into the state, and lowered revenue estimates.
Some legislators are already proposing to use the surplus to pay for various tax cuts, acting as if the current surplus is a permanent feature and not a one-time result of extraordinary circumstances. Choosing to do this would be fiscally irresponsible. Rather than funding unnecessary and costly tax cuts, any surplus revenue should be directed toward the state’s numerous unaddressed needs, such as closing the PEIA and Medicaid shortfalls or reversing cuts to higher education.
Read Sean’s full blog post here.
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.
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