The pressure on the state budget from the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic fallout continues to mount. In April, state revenue collections were $192 million below estimates, setting the stage for what could be a total $500 million shortfall by the end of the fiscal year.
Moreover, recent economic projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) suggest that West Virginia’s, as well as states across the country, budget problems are only going to get worse.
Assuming that the estimated fiscal impact of increased unemployment is right at the national average, the CBO projections suggest that West Virginia will face a $637 million shortfall for FY 2020 (slightly higher than the $500 million currently being projected), a $1.97 billion shortfall in FY 2021, and a $1.08 billion shortfall in FY 2022, for a total shortfall of $3.69 billion through FY 2022.
Read more in Sean’s blog post.
In order for West Virginia to successfully address food insecurity during the response to COVID-19 and throughout the economic fallout of the pandemic, Congress should immediately increase the maximum SNAP allotment by 15 percent for all SNAP households.
While the House of Representatives’ recently introduced HEROES Act includes this increase in food assistance, it stops short of tying it to tangible improvements in economic conditions, opting instead for a cutoff date of September 2021. Ensuring that families have the support they need to address basic needs such as food throughout the duration of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 will support our overwhelmed food banks and provide a steady and stabilizing infusion of federal dollars into the economy.
Read more in Seth’s blog post.
On Monday, twenty organizations including labor unions, disability advocates, communities of color, and others, called on Governor Justice and WorkForce WV to clarify that individuals who are at elevated risk of serious complications from COVID-19 can continue to receive unemployment benefits if their job would increase their likelihood of disease transmission. Read the letter here.
WCHS covered the letter and Kelly appeared on Talkline with Hoppy Kercheval to discuss the risk to workers and our state’s economy of failing to enact these protections.
Watch her interview on Talkline here.
As Congress begins negotiations on their next phase of COVID-19 response legislation, Senators Capito and Manchin must prioritize significant fiscal help to struggling families and to protect jobs and critical public services.
West Virginia is facing an estimated budget gap of $3.6 billion through FY 2022. While ensuring flexibility for the $1.25 billion that West Virginia received in the CARES Act is important, it is nowhere near enough to address the need for West Virginians.
Millions of families are facing serious financial hardship and health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic decline is dramatically reducing state revenue and West Virginia is one of the states hit the hardest. Congress has already acted to help small businesses, hospitals, and virus testing efforts.
Take action now by emailing your Senators.
Despite the significant risk of COVID-19 transmission to those living in close proximity in our state’s prisons and jails, incarcerated West Virginians are less likely than the general population to have been tested for COVID-19.
The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy seeks an energetic and dedicated Executive Director to advance the Center’s mission to use research and policy analysis, strategic communications, and leadership and outreach to improve the well-being of all West Virginians. Founded in 2007, the Center has a reputation for producing creditable, timely, relevant, and accessible policy analysis on important state and federal issues such as criminal justice reform, fair tax and budget policy, affordable health care, labor policy, and other social and economic policy issues. Candidates should have a deep understanding of public policy and strong leadership skills to continue Center’s growth and development. Ted Boettner, the WVCBP’s founding Executive Director, plans to step down this summer.
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Join the Labor Network for Sustainability for the launch of the Justice Transition Listening Project featuring Noam Chomsky, Thea Lee, and Robert Pollin. Register to join via Zoom on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 8pm Eastern.