Earlier this year, Governor Justice, as well as the Chamber of Commerce celebrated the fact that West Virginia had the nation’s highest personal income growth in country in the first quarter of 2019, using the single data point as proof that their preferred policies were growing the economy. In fact, the Chamber of Commerce went so far as to hang a banner, proudly announcing that WV was #1 in the country.
In 2019:Q2, West Virginia shows some improvement, but still lags far behind the national average. West Virginia’s annually adjusted personal income growth between 2019:Q1 and 2019:Q2 was 4.0%, compared to the national average of 5.4%, with the state ranking 40th.
In fact, over the past two years, West Virginia has had only 2 quarters of growth above the national average. And those two quarters, 2018:Q2 and 2018:Q3 both appear to be aberrations, driven more by temporary factors than any actual sustained strength in the state’s economy. And that is a sign for concern, not celebration.
Census data out yesterday show that while West Virginia’s poverty rate declined in 2018 it remains among the highest in the nation.
An estimated 312,118 West Virginians lived in poverty in 2018, for a total poverty rate of 17.8 percent. While poverty had increased in 2017 by over a percentage point, it dropped back down by about the same amount in 2018, back to its 2016 level. West Virginia’s poverty rate remains above its pre-recession levels and, in 2018, was 4.7 percentage points higher than the national average, the 4th-highest rate among the 50 states (the same ranking as 2017).
Our recently formed advisory committee held its second meeting yesterday in Sutton. The committee has 18 members from across the state from many walks of life and work. We meet a couple of times a year and members help guide the work we do and the policy recommendations we make.
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Strength in Stability is story gathering around West Virginia on food insecurity. Have a story? Let us know.
Here is Sherrie’s story.
Thank you for submitting your comment on the Trump Administration’s proposed SNAP rule. This proposal would cause thousands of West Virginians to lose access to SNAP, harming struggling families across the state. Here’s more on why opposing this rule is so important:
West Virginians often show our love through sharing food. Whether it’s a big pot of beans and cornbread on the stove when we show up to a relative’s house or a friend sharing her “world famous” pepperoni roll recipe, we show love by filling up bellies.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a big part of how we fill those bellies. SNAP is the cornerstone of our nation’s anti-poverty and anti-hunger safety net. In a given year, about 340,000 West Virginians, or nearly one-fifth of our population, rely on SNAP to help put food on the table. And that’s a good thing. It frees up low-income families to spend money on other necessities, like child care or rent. In fact, SNAP lifts about 74,000 West Virginians out of poverty each year – 24,000 of them children.
Join us October 10 in Summersville, WV for the 2nd annual Food for All conference. This has been a landmark year addressing food insecurity in West Virginia and we are excited to reflect and plan for the year to come.
Mark your calendar for January 15, 2020 for our 7th annual Budget Breakfast as we kick off the 2020 Legislative Session. Details soon!
More information available here.
Share if you agree: West Virginia’s working families need a tax cut. A state-level EITC would bring much-needed help for families struggling to make ends meet. Learn more: bit.ly/2FjpX9d @WVGovernor @wvlegislature #wveitc
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