Don’t Miss This Bloodcurdling Budget Beat

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Our Latest Spine-Chilling Reports

There’s been some scary talk about tax overhaul in recent months.

One option that appears to be on the table for legislators is eliminating or reducing the business personal property tax. This reliable, constant revenue stream helps maintain West Virginia schools which would be forced to choose between cutting back in the classroom or possibly imposing a higher property tax on West Virginia homeowners. For much more, check out “Ending Business Personal Property Tax Ineffective Way to Boost West Virginia Economy.”

Business personal property taxes account for almost $1 in every $5 of all property taxes paid in West Virginia.

Another frightfully good read is our latest Fast Facts: Encouraging Work Key to Reducing Poverty, a quick low-down on why preserving the federal Earned Income Tax Credit is so important to West Virginia’s working families.

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Take a minute out of your Friday for this quick action, calling on Senators Manchin and Capito to preserve the federal Earned Income Tax Credit. Congress will soon begin debate on extending, or making permanent, tax credits for businesses. They need to be reminded that tens of thousands of working West Virginia families rely on the EITC to put food on the table.

How can you help? Sign this online petition asking Senators Manchin and Capito to fight for working West Virginia families!

Take Action for Racial Equity – November 3

Taking Action for Racial Equality is an opportunity to join a team to work on a racial justice issue, such as reducing racial disparities in arrests in Charleston, Second Chance Employment Act + Let Me Drive, Let Me Work (both criminal justice reforms), juvenile justice reform, voter engagement, affordable housing on the West Side/East End, and racial justice dialogue and education in schools and in the faith community.

Please join us at the Wilson Student Union, WV State University on Tuesday, November 3 from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

This is your chance to take action to address the treatment concerning people of color that exists in this country and the deep, systemic racial disparities that exist in our state. West Virginians from all over the state are coming together to discuss concrete action plans to ensure Racial Equality in West Virginia. Find your role in the movement and meet us there!


Reminder: Registration Open for Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg

Time is running out to register for next month’s Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg, taking place November 10 and 11 at the Kyle and Ann Fort Arts & Sciences Building, New River Community and Technical College.

The conference will offer a unique opportunity for people from throughout West Virginia to continue the constructive, in-depth conversations that began last year in Charleston about the complicated history of race relations and racial inequality in the state.

Go here to register or contact Courtney Smith, 304-645-5620.

Stay in touch at RaceMattersWV.net for upcoming events and how you can stay involved in the campaign to end racial inequity in West Virginia.

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Register Now for Kids and Families Day 2016 – January 28, 2016

There is one special day each year at the Capitol when everyday kids, families and community leaders really make their voices heard!

Click here to register as an individual, sponsor or presenter for the 2016 Kids and Families Day.

This year there are limited scholarships available for bus and van transportation. Contact Jennifer for more information.

One Click to Help Working West Virginia Families

Tax Reform Committee Hears from the Public

On Tuesday, the Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform opened its meeting up to speakers from the public and organizations wishing to address its members.

Ted’s presentation to the Committee provided recommendations to address West Virginia’s chronic budget shortfall and cuts to programs such as higher education.

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The Committee has heard testimony from national organizations recommending reducing or eliminating the personal income tax, as well as other taxes. Ted reminded the Committee that ten years of tax cuts have already packed a punch to the state budget, causing cuts across the board, with more announced just a couple of weeks ago.

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Here’s coverage of the day in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and the Beckley Register-Herald.

Support Powerful Anti-Poverty, Pro-Work Tax Credit

This fall our members of Congress will have the chance to show that they support hard-working low-income families. Important provisions of two anti-poverty, pro-work policies, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC), are set to expire unless Congress acts to save them. By doing so, Congress will give low-income families a hand-up, not a hand out, to pay for basic necessities like child care and transportation that help them work while taking care of their families.

How can you help? Sign this online petition asking Senators Manchin and Capito to fight for working West Virginia families!

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Drug Testing Public Assistance Recipients

During this week’s interims, legislators revisited the topic of drug testing people who receive food stamps and other public assistance.

In this story by WV Public Broadcasting, WVCBP’s Sean O’Leary explains that in many cases this policy costs more than it saves.


Breakfast with Author Eric Foner

Getting some one-on-one time this morning with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Columbia University History Professor Eric Foner are, from left to right, WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner, David Evans, Mr. Foner, Reverend Matthew Watts, and American Friends Service Committee Director Rick Wilson. Professor Foner gave a lecture about Reconstruction last night at the University of Charleston. It was part of the McCreight Lecture in the Humanities series and was sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council. Here’s more in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

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Reminder: Public Hearing on Proposed 28% Rate Increase

The Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on Monday, October 26th on West Virginia American Water’s proposed 28% rate increase. The hearing begins at 6:00 PM at the Public Service Commission (201 Brooks St., Charleston). Please plan to be there at 5:30 pm.

For more information about the case, see the OurWater blog.

 

Reminder: Registration Open for Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg

Registration is open for the Summit on Race Matters: Continuing Conversations, taking place in the Alumni Center of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on November 10 and 11, 2015.

The conference will offer a unique opportunity for people from throughout West Virginia to continue the constructive, in-depth conversations that began last year in Charleston about the complicated history of race relations and racial inequality in the state.

Go here to register or contact Courtney Smith, 304-645-5620.

Please “like” the event on Facebook and spread the word about this exciting and important program.

Stay in touch at RaceMattersWV.net for upcoming events and how you can stay involved in the campaign to end racial inequity in West Virginia.

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Your Chance to Speak to the Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform – This Tuesday

Tax Reform Committee Public Hearing This Tuesday

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform will host its first public hearing on Tuesday, October 20 starting at 9:00 AM in the House Chamber at the State Capitol.

West Virginia policy makers are already struggling to maintain funding for important programs. As we mentioned last week, Governor Tomblin recently announced additional across-the-board budget cuts for the current fiscal year. Here’s more in the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram on the impact of these cuts on local communities.

Individuals wishing to speak to the Committee will be given a chance to sign up that day and speak in the afternoon. Groups or agencies will speak during the morning session and were required to preregister.

For more, please visit the Committee’s Facebook page.

Last month, a diverse coalition of organizations that cares about kids, families, seniors and working people, community organizations and local governments released basic principles of fair taxation which we urge legislators to consider as they deliberate changes to the tax code. 

2015 Tax Fairness Brief cover

October 22: Award-Winning Author Eric Foner at University of Charleston

Presented each October, the McCreight Lecture affords West Virginians the opportunity to hear nationally respected scholars and public intellectuals on a variety of humanities topics. McCreight Lecturers have included Ken Burns, Joyce Carol Oates, Joseph Ellis, Sylvia Nasar, Henry Louis Gates, Elaine Pagels, Gordon Wood, James McPherson, and Edmund Morris.

This year’s McCreight Lecturer is Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian Eric Foner. His 7:30 p.m. lecture this Thursday, October 22 at the University of Charleston is free and open to the public.


Public Hearing on Proposed 28% Rate Increase

The Public Service Commission will hold a public hearing on Monday, October 26th on West Virginia American Water’s proposed 28% rate increase. If you are frustrated by WV American Water’s high rates, poor service and frequent main breaks, the PSC needs to hear from you!

The hearing begins at 6:00 PM at the Public Service Commission (201 Brooks St., Charleston). Plan to be at 5:30 pm.

For more information about the case, see the OurWater blog.

 

Reminder: Registration Open for Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg

Registration is open for the Summit on Race Matters: Continuing Conversations, taking place in the Alumni Center of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on November 10 and 11, 2015.

The conference will offer a unique opportunity for people from throughout West Virginia to continue the constructive, in-depth conversations that began last year in Charleston about the complicated history of race relations and racial inequality in the state.

Go here to register or contact Courtney Smith, 304-645-5620.

Please “like” the event on Facebook and spread the word about this exciting and important program.

Stay in touch at RaceMattersWV.net for upcoming events and how you can stay involved in the campaign to end racial inequity in West Virginia.

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The event will feature a screening of “Cracking the Codes: Social Determinants of Racial Inequality” by Shakti Butler. Here’s a clip of another World Trust film, Mirrors of Privilege: Make Whiteness Visible, which features stories from white men and women on overcoming issues of unconscious bias and entitlement.

Registration Open for Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg (Budget Beat – October 9, 2015)

Registration Open for Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg

Registration is open for the Summit on Race Matters: Continuing Conversations, taking place in the Alumni Center of the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine on November 10 and 11, 2015.

The conference will offer a unique opportunity for people from throughout West Virginia to continue the constructive, in-depth conversations that began last year in Charleston about the complicated history of race relations and racial inequality in the state.

The event will include a screening of “Cracking the Codes: Social Determinants of Racial Inequality” by Shakti Butler on Tuesday evening, November 10 and workshop discussions about this powerful film on Wednesday, November 11.

The event will also feature keynote speakers and a panel discussion. It is sponsored by New River Community and Technical College, the Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation, and the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Go here to register or contact Courtney Smith, 304-645-5620.

Please “like” the event on Facebook and spread the word about this exciting and important program.

Stay in touch at RaceMattersWV.net for upcoming events and how you can stay involved in the campaign to end racial inequity in West Virginia.

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Welcome, Tara!

We are happy to announce that Tara Martinez has joined our staff as Policy Outreach Coordinator!

Tara’s work will include expanding our strategic outreach, partnership, and coalition building. She has worked in state government over the last 16 years, most recently as the Executive Director of the West Virginia Women’s Commission. She recently served as vice-chair for the State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights during its state review focusing around mental health and law enforcement. Tara holds a R.B.A. and M.B.A. from Marshall University.

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The POWER+ Plan: Toward a Brighter Future for West Virginia

In the past couple of weeks, county commissions in Fayette and Wyoming County have passed resolutions of support for the federal POWER+ Plan and the Kanawha County Commission is currently debating whether or not to join them.

What is the POWER+ Plan? Not to be confused with President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the POWER+ Plan would disburse $1 billion to reclaim abandoned mines in communities struggling with the decline of the coal industry. It would help provide the resources to create jobs in agriculture, energy, tourism and mine reclamation.

The funds are available but action is needed by Congress to appropriate them to the POWER+ Plan. Resolutions of support will be sent to West Virginia’s Congressional delegation urging them to bring these much-needed resources to West Virginia and the rest of Appalachia hard hit by declines in coal production and employment.

Here’s more on what the decision could mean for Kanawha County alone:

AML sites Kanwha County
Tax Reform Committee Public Hearing – October 20

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform will host its only-scheduled public hearing on Tuesday, October 20 starting at 9:00 AM in the House Chamber at the State Capitol.

With the 2016 Legislative Session fast approaching, the Committee will soon finalize its recommendations to the legislature on how to overhaul the state’s tax code. They’ve heard from many national speakers who recommend that West Virginia follow Kansas’s lead by slashing taxes, which will further cut funds to higher education, highway maintenance and the state’s schools.

With news out this week of a budget deficit caused by shrinking severance tax collections, further tax cuts could not come at a worse time.

Groups or agencies will speak during the morning session and must pre-register by October 15 by sending an e-mail here. The public may sign up to address the committee on October 20 prior to the start of the afternoon session.

For more, please visit the Committee’s Facebook page.

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Can’t Make it to Charleston? Tax Reform Town Hall in Martinsburg – October 13

Delegate Eric Householder and other Eastern Panhandle lawmakers will host a town hall-style public hearing Tuesday, Oct. 13, 6:00 – 8:00 PM, at Martinsburg High School to hear citizens’ ideas and comments on potential state tax reform proposals.

Delegate Householder is a member of the Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform. According to the Committee’s announcement, members “want to hear from the people about their ideas to improve the tax climate here in West Virginia.” Here’s more.

The View from Pocahontas County

This week, WVCBP staff and board participated in our first-ever retreat. Here are a few shots of the view from the Cranberry Mountain Lodge, a beautiful and inspiring (and off-line) location for us to escape to for uninterrupted dialog and brainstorming.

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Join the Conversation on Racial Equity at RaceMattersWV.net (Budget Beat – October 2, 2015)

Race Matters in West Virginia

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been a year since hundreds of people from across West Virginia participated in the first Summit on Race Matters. Since then, events have happened across the state and now there’s a website where you can stay in touch.

RaceMattersWV.net launched this week with ways you can Learn, Connect and Act in the campaign to end racial inequity in West Virginia.

The website is made possible with funding from the West Virginia Humanities Council and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Want to join the conversation in person? Plan to attend the Race Matters Summit in Lewisburg, WV on November 10 and 11. More information to follow.

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A Marcellus Tax Incentive

West Virginia’s natural gas boom has not led to greater economic development. Overall, West Virginia lost jobs during the boom, and growth has been disappointing in the counties that have seen the biggest increase in gas production.

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Last week we released A Win-Win Marcellus Shale Tax Incentive, with recommendations on how to increase the severance tax on natural gas liquids while providing an incentive for in-state consumers and producers.

This week the Charleston Gazette supported our recommendations. Here’s more in the Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram and the Wheeling Intelligencer.

Next Meeting of Tax Reform Committee

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform will meet on Monday to take up the issue of property taxes. On the agenda are Calvin Kent from the Marshall University Lewis College of Business and Jared Walczak, Policy Analyst with the Tax Foundation.

Please mark your calendar for the Committee’s public hearing on October 20. Here are some basic principles that we, along with the organizations listed below, ask legislators to consider in any tax reform recommendations.

2015 Tax Fairness Brief cover

Ever Thought of Running for Office?

The West Virginia Candidate Training Academy is hosting non-partisan training events for people interested in running for elected office of any kind, this year or in the future.

Learn from the experts:

  • Stump Speech Training: How to tell your story
  • How to Ask For Money
  • What to Run For, and When
  • Campaign Strategy
  • Panel Discussion with People Who Can Help You
  • The Inside Scoop From Successful Campaigners

Training workshops are being held in:

  • Lewisburg – November 12
  • Martinsburg – November 21
  • Charleston – December 5
  • Wheeling – December 8

To learn more, go here.

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