On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final rule restricting states’ ability to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to childless adults living in high-unemployment areas who are struggling to find a steady job. Here is the USDA’s fact sheet on the rule.
The final rule restricts states’ ability to waive SNAP’s three-month time limit in areas with insufficient jobs, which will cut off basic food assistance for nearly 700,000 of the nation’s poorest people.
It’s been a longstanding practice among Democratic and Republican presidents to grant waivers of this strict requirement for areas in need. In fact, 36 states currently have waivers for parts of their state.
Read more here on the impact of this rule on our region. We will have more in next week’s Budget Beat on how this damaging policy will impact West Virginia families.
Thanks to all who made comments to try and stop this rule’s implementation.
Five months into the fiscal year, West Virginia’s decision to cut severance taxes on thermal coal and hand out a $13 million tax break to a struggling power plant are looking less and less like solid, data-driven policies.
As the state confronts a likely $100 million shortfall for this fiscal year alone, Governor Jim Justice is calling for across the board agency cuts that will further damage the ability of communities to invest in education and vital services for their people.
Instead of damaging cuts, the legislature and governor should break the resource curse and raise the natural gas severance tax. This would avoid damaging cuts to our communities while providing much-needed additional revenue to invest in important things like broadband, education and a refundable Earned Income Tax Credit for West Virginia working families.
Learn more about raising the natural gas severance tax in our new video.
Increasing affordability for prescription drugs has been a top concern for voters across the political spectrum, with skyrocketing insulin costs at the forefront of conversations. Nationally, the list prices of insulin tripled between 2002 and 2013. The average annual spending on insulin per type 1 diabetic doubled between 2012 and 2016.
Multiple states have chosen to focus on reducing patient cost-sharing. Earlier this year, Colorado became the first state in the nation to cap the maximum insulin copay for residents with private health insurance. Just last month, the Illinois legislature passed a similar insulin copay cap, and the bill is expected to be signed into law by the governor. Both bills cap the maximum copay for a 30-day supply of insulin at $100 regardless of the dosage. Lawmakers in West Virginia have expressed interest in proposing similar legislation.
On December 8, join the caravan to Canada to send a message to policymakers about the unacceptably high cost of insulin. Tickets are still available. Register or make a donation to help cover the cost for others to attend at insulincaravan.eventsmart.com.
Have you ever taken paid or unpaid leave to care for a loved one or yourself, or had someone take leave to care for you?
Have you ever needed to take family or medical leave, but found out this was financially impossible when unpaid leave was your only option?
We want to hear from you. Share your story here.
Mark your calendar for January 15, 2020 for our 7th annual Budget Breakfast as we kick off the 2020 Legislative Session.