Blog Posts > New Report Examines Decade of Failed Policies to Promote Economic Growth, Provides Path Forward
December 14, 2022

New Report Examines Decade of Failed Policies to Promote Economic Growth, Provides Path Forward

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2022

Contact: Renee Alves, 559-916-5939

Charleston, WV – Prior to the pandemic, West Virginia experienced a lost decade, with essentially no economic growth from 2009 to 2019. This happened despite years of so-called business friendly policies like tax cuts, right to work, repeal of the prevailing wage, and reductions in state spending that were promised to unleash growth and move West Virginia forward. Instead, working class West Virginians were left behind as the tax system became more unfair, public services were neglected, and the promised economic growth never materialized.

Our new report, the 15th edition of the State of Working West Virginia, looks back at the past decade, examining the most prominent policies that were enacted to promote growth, their uniform failures and consequences, and the need to avoid repeating past mistakes as the state emerges from the pandemic and recession. The report was authored by WVCBP senior policy analyst, Sean O’Leary.

The failure of the tax cuts and other policies mentioned above to create promised economic growth resulted in years of forced budget cuts and led to a decade of underinvestment in our state. Indeed, West Virginia has spent years unable to adequately address current needs or make new and necessary investments. But despite the failure of the past decade and the temporary nature of West Virginia’s current budget surplus, state leaders are pushing for more of the same: tax cuts that would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, while delivering large savings to the wealthy and businesses and comparatively little to everyday West Virginians.

Instead of doubling down on previous efforts that failed to achieve their promised results, we can choose to invest in our state and our people by:

  • Addressing the consequences of four years of austerity;
  • Helping West Virginians afford family costs; and
  • Supporting workers with policies that raise wages and strengthen worker power.

“To adopt further tax cuts would be to repeat the mistakes of the past,” says O’Leary. “They would deprive the state of necessary resources to address real needs and investments, while also failing to have a significant impact on the vast majority of West Virginia households and the economy. West Virginia doesn’t need more ineffective tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthy — it needs consistent revenue to provide additional support to currently under-resourced public services.”

You can read the full report here.

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