For Immediate Release: August 3, 2021
Contact: Renee Alves, 559-916-5939
Charleston, WV – West Virginia faces a pivotal moment as we begin to emerge and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. While the pandemic brought many of its own unique challenges, an important takeaway that was highlighted during COVID-19 was that there are also longstanding, structural challenges to the economic mobility and well-being of people in West Virginia — challenges that the pandemic did not cause. For that reason, simply returning to the pre-pandemic economy and system is not an option. In order to move our state forward and create a West Virginia that allows for all to thrive, we must implement policies that ensure everyone can achieve shared prosperity with the resources needed to balance work, care for family, feel a sense of community, and meet their basic needs.
Our new report, Emerging Stronger from the Pandemic: A Blueprint for an Equitable Economic Recovery in West Virginia, explores lessons learned from the pandemic, as well as provides policy recommendations by topic area that would serve as an equity-centered pathway forward for our state and its people. The report was authored by the WVCBP’s senior policy analyst, Sean O’Leary, with foreword written by our executive director, Kelly Allen. The report’s areas of focus include:
The report’s recommendations are not comprehensive, but they do show the WVCBP’s vision for a West Virginia where everyone has a meaningful opportunity to prosper. The piece both details priorities that the WVCBP has long advocated for and new policy ideas that have emerged from conversations with West Virginians and our partners.
“As West Virginia emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it has a chance to emerge stronger than ever before. But to do so, the state must make bold changes. For too long, West Virginia has taken a path that has benefited only a few by cutting taxes, reducing spending, and weakening labor protections. Instead of delivering promised growth, this approach has led to less investment in education and a stagnant economy that is not creating broadly shared prosperity,” says O’Leary.
“But this does not have to be the case. A strong economy can be built in West Virginia by prioritizing the prosperity of all West Virginians. That means investing in education, ensuring that workers have the supports they need, addressing longstanding racial inequities, improving access to health care, and making sure everyone can earn a living wage. Working together, we can truly make West Virginia a better place to work, live, and support a family.”
You can find the full report here.
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