Breaking Down WV’s 10,000 Resident Population Decline

Earlier this week the Census Bureau released its annual state population estimates. The data showed West Virginia losing an estimated 9,951 residents from July 2015 to July 2016, making West Virginia one of only eight states to lose population in the past year.

Digging deeper into the data sheds a little more light on the causes of West Virginia’s population decline. West Virginia experienced a net migration loss of 6,583 residents, meaning more people left West Virginia than moved to West Virginia. West Virginia was one of 19 states with a net migration loss.

West Virginia also experienced a natural population loss of 2,680, meaning more West Virginia residents died in the past year than were born. West Virginia was one of only two states with a natural population loss, with 19,799 births and 22,479 deaths.

While West Virginia’s population loss has prompted much discussion around the ‘struggle to stay,’ is West Virginia’s population loss due to residents leaving home more so than in other states? West Virginia was one of 19 states with a net migration loss, but is there anything about that loss that makes West Virginia unique?

For that we can look to the Census migration data. In 2015, 44,648 residents moved from West Virginia to another state the prior year, while 39,093 residents moved to West Virginia from another state. So overall, 5,555 more people left West Virginia than came to it. As the charts show, most of the migration, both to and from West Virginia, came from neighboring states, as well as Florida.

out

in

Those coming to West Virginia were actually slightly younger than those leaving the state. The average age of those migrating to West Virginia from another state was 32.4 years, while the average age for those leaving West Virginia for another state was 35.0 years.

Compared to other states, West Virginia does not see an exceptional amount of migration, in or out of the state. As a share of total population, West Virginia ranks 39th for in migration and 37th for out migration.

in-ranked

out-ranked

In 2015, 2.4 percent of West Virginia’s residents left the state. The average state experienced 2.9 percent of its population leaving. This shows people are not leaving West Virginia at a rate any higher than a typical state. But West Virginia is also not replacing those who did leave. In 2015, in migrating residents accounted for 2.1 percent of the state’s population. However, for the average state, the in migration rate was 3.1 percent.

While West Virginia is losing residents to other states, it’s not losing them at any amount greater than any other state loses residents. But, in the end, West Virginia isn’t gaining as many residents from other states, leading to a net migration loss. Combined with the fact that West Virginia was one of only two states with more deaths than births, you can see that the state isn’t necessarily struggling to keep people from leaving, it is struggling to bring them in.

Revenue Is Not Keeping Pace With State’s Economy Because of Tax Cuts

Recent data shows that West Virginia’s economy remains sluggish. While nonfarm employment grew by a little over 10,000 jobs in November, this was almost entirely driven largely by a huge jump in local government employment from temporary hiring of election workers. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income growth in West Virginia grew by only 0.8 percent from 2nd quarter of 2016 to the 3rd quarter of 2016. The biggest factors in West Virginia’s sluggish personal income growth over this period was declines in state and local earnings from depressed state spending, along with lower mining earnings from declining coal production and low natural prices.

While the state’s economy is struggling to grow jobs, the aggregate amount of income in the state’s economy has grown. Between 2010 and 2016, per capita income grew from $31,579 to $37,189. This is difference of about $2,225 after adjusting for inflation. Despite growth in income in West Virginia, the state is collecting far less tax revenue.

As the chart below highlights, general revenue collections as a share of personal income has plummeted. Between fiscal year 2005 (the peak) and fiscal year 2016 (July 2015 to June 2016), general revenue collections have shrunk from 7.4 percent of total personal income to just 6 percent. Using anticipated general revenue collections for FY 2017 of $4.0 billion and annualized 3rd quarter 2016 personal income data, this will likely fall below 6 percent.

grftaxcuts

One of the central factors behind this large drop in revenue collections as a share of the economy is major tax cuts that were enacted between 2007 and 2015. This included the phase out of the business franchise tax and grocery tax on food, along with the reduction of the corporate net income tax rate to 6.5 percent from 9 percent and some smaller reductions. All together, it is estimated that these tax cuts have resulted in at least $425 million in lost annual revenue. If West Virginia was collecting the average share of personal income it did before the tax cuts (FY1990 to FY2007), the state’s general revenue fund would have an additional $627 million in revenue. This is  $200 million more than the projected $400 million budget gap the state is facing next year.

To get our state’s fiscal house in order, and to avoid more harmful cuts that are holding our economic recovery back, lawmakers will have to deal with the state’s growing revenue and investment problem. This means raising taxes on things that are making our state unhealthy, asking the wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share, and closing loopholes in our sales and corporate income tax. Without additional needed revenue, the state will likely continue to cut investments in schools, roads, public colleges, and public safety.

Protect West Virginia

Irresponsible budget cuts that slash basic funding for education, public safety, and roads put our state at risk and hurt our families. We are rolling out our Protect West Virginia campaign next month in hopes of holding lawmakers accountable and demanding real budget solutions to preserve our heritage, safeguard our communities, and secure the state’s future.

West Virginia’s budget deficit is more than $400 million. Not acting means watching 10,000 students lose the PROMISE scholarship; asking our K-12 students to learn in overcrowded classrooms and allowing thousands of teachers and support staff to be laid off; and limiting services vital to senior citizens.

Leading up to the campaign’s launch, here are a few ways to get involved with Protect West Virginia:
– Visit our website www.protectwv.org to sign on to the campaign;
– Connect with us at info@protectwv.org to write a Letter to the Editor or an opinion piece;
– Participate in the Protect West Virginia campaign launch in January; and
– Engage with us on social media.

wvcbp_budgetgap8-5x11
The Our Children, Our Future Campaign is celebrating its victories and looking ahead to 2017.

With its supporters’ help, in the last four years the organization has effectively campaigned to raise the minimum wage, expand school breakfast offerings, and reduce small business regulations.

The campaign is finalizing its 2017 platform and wants your input. Vote here to help select the remaining four initiatives in the 2017 platform.

our-kids-our-furt
The Working Families coalition met Monday, December 12 to discuss successes and future plans to make West Virginia the 27th state to enact a state Earned Income Tax Credit. The coalition came to a consensus on its strategy for the upcoming legislative session as well as a long-term vision on policies and action that support West Virginia’s low-wage working families.

A little fun was had as well; coalition members took to social media to share this EITC video produced by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. View.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy supports enacting a state EITC for working people to help them offset the cost of various state and local taxes they pay.


seth-eitc-coal-meet

In the News
This week, the WVCBP released its ninth annual State of Working West Virginia report. Read.  The Associated Press and various other media outlets picked up the report that investigates why resource-rich West Virginia is so poor. Read.

The report sho ws West Virginia remains one of the poorest states in the nation and suffers from a resource curse. The state has seen little job growth since the Great Recession and many of the state’s high-wage jobs have been replaced with low-wage jobs in recent years. West Virginia’s labor force participation rate remains the lowest in the nation and is at its lowest since the late 1980s. Trickle-down economics have often failed to produce stronger economic growth or a better quality of life. In order to increase incomes in the state, educational levels, as well as the amount of innovative research being conducted in West Virginia, must increase.

swwv-cover-page-001
Renate Pore in a Charleston Gazette-Mail opinion piece writes that while the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not perfect and many things need to be improved, to repeal the health care law without a replacement would be a catastrophe. “It will hurt just about everybody — people, health care providers, and the insurers,” Pore said.  Read.

Read more about what all is at stake for West Virginia in defending health care in 2017 here, including the 184,000 West Virginians that stand to lose their health care coverage.

whats-on-the-aca-line

Impacts of ACA Repeal, Push for RECLAIM Act and More

184,000 West Virginians Could Lose Coverage with Partial Affordable Care Act Repeal

An Urban Institute analysis projects 184,000 West Virginians would lose health care coverage under an Affordable Care Act repeal, a 208 percent increase in the number of uninsured.

“The ACA, while not perfect, has become a foundation of health security for thousands of West Virginia families. Its repeal will have a significant impact on the state. But as of now, tens of thousands of West Virginians stand to lose their health care coverage, while the state and health care industry must prepare to lose billions in federal funding,” West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Senior Policy Analyst Sean O’Leary writes in this blog post. Read.

Call 866.426.2632 and tell Congress health care coverage matters.

share-of-uninsured

 

“Eliminating the business personal property income tax would be a fiscal disaster,”  West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy Senior Policy Analyst Sean O’Leary writes in this blog post. Read.

In recent years, the legislature has passed $425 million in tax cuts, and largely because of those cuts, the state faces a $400 million budget gap.

The WVCBP has shown that there is little evidence that eliminating business personal property taxes significantly increases investment and growth. Instead the eliminations stifle the ability of municipalities, county governments, and school districts to provide needed services.

impact

In the News

This week, Revenue Secretary Bob Kiss told lawmakers that West Virginia’s state budget has a “significant structural hole” that will be “north of $400 million” next year that cannot be fixed by across-the-board cuts. Read.

The WVCBP advocates for a more balanced approach to the budget, including revenue generating options such as 3 percent personal income surcharge on households making over $200,000, adequate taxation of natural gas extraction, closing the corporate tax loopholes, raising sin taxes on tobacco, soda, alcohol to name a few.

wvcbp-capitol-pic

Eric Dixon writes “Communities Struggling with Decline of Coal Can’t Wait any Longer on RECLAIM Act” in this opinion piece featured in The Hill. Read.

The WVCBP welcomes the advancement of the RECLAIM Act that would invest $1 billion in struggling communities to retrain workers and develop more diversified economies.

We urge you to call Senator Manchin at 202.224.3954 and Senator Capito at 220.224.6472 and ask them to pass legislation to help our communities before it is too late.

reclaim

Upcoming Events

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, the City of Huntington, Marshall University, and the Cabell-Huntington Health Department are hosting a conference on Tuesday, December 13 to discuss solutions to the state’s opioid epidemic.

Learn more here.

2016-choosing-wisely-event-flyer-final

Registration is now open for the 4th Annual WVCBP Budget Breakfast — Facing West Virginia’s Budget Challenges: The Road Ahead.

Register here before January 31, 2017 to enjoy a $40 early bird discount.

budgetpostcardfront

Eliminating the Business Personal Property Tax Would Be a Fiscal Disaster

Not content with the recent $425 million in tax cuts passed in recent years, the legislature’s attention has once again turned to the state’s business personal property tax. The business personal property tax (sometimes short handedly referred to as the inventory tax) was the topic of the most recent Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform subcommittee meeting, and committee member Delegate Eric Householder recently called for the tax to be eliminated. If the tax is fully eliminated and nothing is done to replace the lost revenue, the state would have to raise taxes by $111.7 million due to the school aid formula, while local governments would lose $276 million.

As we’ve shown before, there is little evidence to support claims that eliminating taxes on business personal property would significantly boost investment and job growth. Instead, the massive tax cut would have a profound impact on state and local government finances, straining the ability of municipalities, county governments, and school districts to provide needed services and would likely lead to cuts in services or a dramatic tax shift, such as higher property taxes on homeowners or higher taxes on real property owned by small businesses. The tax cut would also add tens of millions to the state’s already $400+ million budget gap.

In FY 2016, the property tax on business personal property (which includes business machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business personal property like computers and fixtures, as well as the working interest in oil and natural gas property) totaled $388.4 million, which accounts for 23 percent of total property tax revenue in the state.

taxes

Since property taxes are levied by the state, counties, school districts, and municipalities, the impact of the tax cut would be felt at every level of government in West Virginia.

If the business personal property tax were to be fully eliminated, counties and municipalities would lose an estimated $130.5 million in annual property tax revenue.

The state would lose an estimated $1.6 million in revenue, but would also have to pay out an additional $110.1 million through the school aid formula due to the loss of revenue by school districts, for a total annual fiscal impact of $111.7 million for state government.

School districts would be the hardest hit by the elimination of the business personal property tax. Schools would lose $256.2 million in annual property tax revenue. While $110.1 million would be replaced through the school aid formula, schools in West Virginia would still lose a total of $146.2 million annually. Since school levy rates are set by the legislature, and since most school excess levies are at or near the max rate, local school districts would be unable to fill this deficit, and the state would need to provide additional revenue to maintain the current educational system.

impact

One of the biggest priorities for businesses looking to locate in or expand in a state is an educated workforce. Cutting property taxes in an effort to encourage job growth and investment is self-defeating, as that tax revenue largely funds the school systems that educate the state’s future workforce. Without an educated workforce, created through a well-funded public education system, West Virginia will continue to experience its economic decline.

By including both real and personal property, West Virginia maintains a broad property tax base. This in turn keeps rates low, and ensures property tax payments are directly proportional to the amount of property a taxpayer owns. Eliminating the tax on business personal property would dramatically narrow the state’s property tax base, likely leading to higher rates and introducing more inequity into the system. The state’s ability to generate revenue has been compromised by tax cuts, low energy prices, and a slow growing economy, resulting in multiple rounds of budget cuts. Further eroding state and local revenues can only have more detrimental effects.

184,000 West Virginians Could Lose Coverage with Partial Repeal of Affordable Care Act

With the new Trump Administration’s promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare), Congress is now considering partial repeal through the budget reconciliation process, to avoid a filibuster. The repeal maybe phased in over time, but no replacement plan has been defined. The budget reconciliation process only allows changes to components of the law with federal budget implications, which would allow for the elimination of the Medicaid expansion, the federal financial assistance for Marketplace coverage (premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions), and the individual and employer mandates. It is unclear if the January vote to repeal without replace will pass. Some Republican Senators (such as Lamar Alexander R-TN and Susan Collins R-ME) have publicly expressed concern about voting to repeal in the blind without any replacement plan identified.

The Urban Institute has done an analysis of healthcare coverage and spending if the ACA is partially repealed through the reconciliation process, similar to the one passed last summer and vetoed by President Obama.

The Urban Institute projects that 184,000 West Virginians would lose healthcare coverage in 2019 under a ACA repeal, a 208% increase in the number of uninsured. This includes low-wage working West VIrginans would lose Medicaid coverage due to the elimination of Medicaid expansion, those for whom coverage becomes unaffordable due to the loss of premium tax credits, and healthy individuals who can afford coverage but are no longer required to purchase it. Without insurance, many West Virginians will put off seeking care until their condition is serious or even life threatening, and more expensive to treat. The ACA repeal could cause a growing number of medical bill bankruptcies that leave West Virginia families destitute.

1

 

While the number of uninsured West Virginians would dramatically increase with the ACA repeal, a much smaller share of the uninsured would be eligible for financial assistance.  Under a partial repeal through reconciliation,  only 13 percent of the 272,000 uninsured West Virginians would be eligible for any financial assistance (all under Medicaid or CHIP), because of  the elimination of both the Marketplace tax credits and the Medicaid eligibility expansion. In contrast, under the ACA, 71 percent of the remaining 88,000 uninsured would be eligible for either Medicaid/CHIP or tax credits through the
ACA’s Marketplaces in 2019.

2

West Virginia would also stand to lose billions in federal funding with the repeal of the ACA. Under the ACA the federal government is projected to spend $35 billion from 2019-2028 funding West Virginia’s Medicaid/CHIP program, and $2 billion on premium tax credits for West Virginians. The a partial repeal of the ACA, federal funding for Medicaid would fall to $23 billion over that time frame, and the premium credits would be eliminated, a loss of $14 billion in federal funding. This loss of federal funding would threaten the state’s healthcare infrastructure and likely destroy jobs across the state.

3

In addition, as the number of uninsured increases, the amount of uncompensated care – the cost of health care for the uninsured and underinsured –  would increase. Uncompensated care is paid for in a variety, some of it is financed by the federal government, some by state and local governments, some by the healthcare providers, and some of it is passed on to insured patients through higher costs. While the ACA reduced uncompensated care through coverage expansion, its repeal would dramatically increase the costs of uncompensated care for the healthcare system. Under current law, uncompensated care is projected to cost the healthcare system $656 billion over the next 10 years, with the federal government spending $262 billion, state and local governments spending $164 billion, and providers spending $230 billion. With a repeal of the ACA, uncompensated care costs would increase by $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years. However, federal programs must be increased to cover the additional costs above the current levels, which previous ACA repeal bills have not done. If no federal action is taken, state and local governments and providers would have to $1.1 trillion uncompensated care increase themselves.

The ACA, while not perfect, has become a foundation of health security for thousands of West Virginia families. Its repeal will have a significant impact on the state, as will any replacement plan, when it is defined. But as of now, tens of thousands of West Virginians stand to lose their healthcare coverage, while the state and the healthcare industry must prepare to lose billions in federal funding.

Our Broken Budget and More

Jennifer Jett Prezkop writes, “West Virginia’s financial situation is a precarious one at best,” in her West Virginia Executive Magazine article. Read.
WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner had this to say on the matter: “policymakers will need to address the revenue problems in order to improve the state’s fiscal health and make much needed investments that will help the state’s economy.”
“Policymakers need to take a more balanced approach by exploring more progressive options,” Boettner added.
sj-capitol
With President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to bring back West Virginia’s coal industry, WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner explores “What will it take for coal to make a comeback?” in this blog post. Read.
According to the latest forecast from West Virginia University, West Virginia will extract 80 million tons of coal per year for the foreseeable future. The state’s production figure would need to be much higher — 140 million tons per year or at least 100 million — for the state’s coal industry to be revived.
wv-coal-projections
In the News
This week, Governor Tomblin announced a statewide $11.1 million cut to K-12 schools.
The Inter-Mountain talks with Upshur County Board of Education officials and WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner about the cuts, which Boettner says are just the beginning. Read.
“Our budget gap next year is going to be in excess of $350 million. There is going to be a large debate on how to close that gap,” Boettner said. “Businesses won’t invest in West Virginia if they don’t know whether infrastructure is going to be maintained or that state schools will produce the workforce they need.”
WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner discusses President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign promise to bring back West Virginia’s coal industry in this Public News Service story. Read.

“The chances of a rebound, especially in southern West Virginia, are close to zero,” Boettner said of the coal industry.
“According to the  WVCBP , the decline in state coal production is being driven by cheap natural gas, low-cost wind and solar, competition from coal mined in Western states, and the fact that the easy-to-get Appalachian coal is gone.”
hows-that-coal
Andrew Brown writes about U.S. Human and Health Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s visit to West Virginia’s Capital City in the Charleston Gazette-Mail. Read.
WVCBP Policy Outreach Coordinator Tara Martinez participated in the event’s panel discussion, speaking about the importance of maintaining the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) and its Medicaid expansion provision. Her daughter, who needs the life-saving Epipen drug, is insured through the  Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Martinez told the crowd she didn’t know what the family would do if they had to pay out of pocket for the Epipen prescriptions.
aca-event-bb-pic
Upcoming Events 
West Virginians for Affordable Health Care is hosting its annual reception and fundraiser on Friday, December 9 at the University of Charleston.
Malene Smith Davis is the event’s featured speaker and President and CEO of Capital Caring, the first and largest hospice and palliative care organization in the country.
Register before December 5 online at wvahc.org, by calling 681.256.9008 or emailing info@wvahc.org.
wvahc-annual-fundraise-invite-2016_page_1

What Will it Take for Coal to Make a Comeback?

Back in early May, President-Elect Donald Trump pledged to revive West Virginia’s coal industry and some school officials in Boone County say they are counting on this to help them keep schools open and save jobs. While it doesn’t need to be repeated here that this is highly unlikely (see here, here, here, and here), it is important, at least for posterity’s sake, and for those who believe it’s possible to revive the state’s coal industry, to see what that would have to look like.

According to the most recent forecast from West Virginia University, which does not include the now-unlikely implementation of the Clean Power Plan, the state is expected to extract under 80 million tons per year for the foreseeable future. Between 2000 and 2015, West Virginia produced between 98 million and 165 million tons of coal. The average tons produced over this period was approximately 144 million. Therefore it would be reasonable to surmise that for the coal industry in West Virginia to be revived production would have get back to at least 144 million tons per year. Or we could set the bar even lower and say coal production would need to return to at least 2015 levels or about 100 million tons per year.

wv-coal-projections

Historically, coal mining has been a source of relatively high-paying jobs for those without college degrees in West Virginia. Its decline has been a major factor in the state’s budget woes and its weak economy. It remains to be seen how, and if, Donald Trump will keep the promise he made to West Virginia voters to bring back the coal mining jobs that have been lost over the past several years.

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care Hosting Secretary Burwell on Tuesday, November 22

West Virginians for Affordable Health Care is hosting U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Tuesday, November 22, at 11 a.m. on the campus of the University of Charleston. Register here.

Secretary Burwell will talk with West Virginians who have benefitted from the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare). The event will be hosted in the Erma Byrd Art Gallery. Registration is required.

More than 170,000 West Virginians have enrolled in expanded Medicaid, a provision of the ACA. Additionally, over 35,000 residents purchased ACA-compliant plans last year on the state’s health insurance marketplace.

sec-burwell

In the News

WVCBP Executive Director Ted Boettner weighs in on West Virginia’s revenue sources in the State Journal. Read here.

“While state sales and income tax collections nationally are certainly being impacted by low inflation, weak wage growth and low energy prices, several other long-term factors are also impacting state tax collections,” Boettner said.

“These include major income tax cuts that some states have enacted, such as Kansas, growth in business tax incentives and rising income inequality. One big cause of declining sales tax revenues is that more of what families and businesses buy is tax-free, such as internet sales.”

wvcbp-capitol-pic

Michael E. Webber writes “The Coal Industry Isn’t Coming Back” in this New York Times opinion piece. Read here.

“Donald J. Trump made many important campaign promises on his way to victory. But saving coal is one promise he won’t be able to keep. Many in Appalachia and other coal-mining regions believe that President Obama’s supposed war on coal caused a steep decline in the industry’s fortunes.

“But coal’s struggles to compete are caused by cheap natural gas, cheap renewables, air-quality regulations that got their start in the George W. Bush administration and weaker-than-expected demand for coal in Asia.”

coal-inst-coming-back

Larissa MacFarquhar re-connects with Southern West Virginia residents in her “Learning Trump Won, In West Virginia” for The New Yorker. Read here.

“I spoke with Ojeda and others in Logan last summer about the election, because southern West Virginia was unusually enthusiastic about Trump, and not just for economic reasons.”

“Many there felt that Trump was the first candidate in a while to treat West Virginia as a valued part of working America, rather than as a place to send welfare checks. They saw that the élites who mocked Appalachia also mocked and despised Trump, and that made them like him even more.”

logan

WVCBP Staff Retreat

This week, the WVCBP staff enjoyed several days in beautiful Fayette County, West Virginia for its staff retreat.

The team kicked off the retreat with an adrenaline-inducing zip lining adventure in the New River Gorge area before focusing on up-coming projects and campaigns.

staff-zips

During the second day of the retreat, WVCBP staff hosted a WV United meeting where about 25 coalition partners joined us in Fayetteville. WV United formed in 2004 and meets monthly.

fullsizerender

Reaction to the Election

Reggie Jones, who is the director of PRIDE Community Services in Logan, West Virginia, summed up the election best: “We’re suffering in this state, and I don’t see any end in sight.”

No matter who you voted for in the election, it is undeniably true that working families in West Virginia are struggling and have been for a very long time. And for far too long, our policy choices in West Virginia, and at the federal level, have put the interests of those on top ahead of everyone else. As former Supreme Court Justice David Souter said two years ago: “when problems are not addressed, people will not know who is responsible.”

This is why it is so important for us continue the fight. We must continue to push for policies that will build a stronger middle class and which lift us all up, despite our race, ethnicity, gender, religion, and sexual orientation.

It is difficult to tell what is going to happen to the people of West Virginia and across the nation in the future. But one thing is for sure, we are committed to listen more, work harder, and never give up on our vision for building a prosperous West Virginia where everyone has a meaningful and equitable opportunity to thrive.

Onward and upward,

Ted Boettner
WVCBP Executive Director

In the News

This week, Ted joined WV Public Broadcasting’s Ashton Marra to talk about the results of the governor’s race along with conservative columnist Laurie Lin of WVPB’s The Front Porch. Listen here.

Ted also had this to say in the Charleston Gazette-Mail about the likelihood of a rebound in the state’s coal industry: it is likely to continue to decline, unless Trump or the state Legislature decide to ban hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or “crack down on renewable energy.” Read the full article here.

Why Business Tax Cuts Don’t Work

Taxes don’t play a major role when business leaders decide where to locate and expand their companies. And cutting taxes has not brought jobs to West Virginia. In fact, we have fewer private-sector jobs in the state now than we did in 2007, before business taxes were cut by hundreds of millions of dollars.

This was the topic of this week’s Lunch and Learn at the Covenant House. View Ted’s full presentation here.

Welcome, Caitlin!

This week the WVCBP welcomed Caitlin Cook, our first full-time Communications Director. Caitlin is a native of Charleston and brings business and public outreach experience to her role. She holds a B. A. in Journalism and a B. A. in Philosophy from Youngstown State University. Caitlin will work to foster an environment of increased understanding and collaboration on budget and economic issues among citizens, partners and legislators through strategic communications.

Recognizing the Importance of Medicaid Coverage

On November 2, Marion County passed a resolution in support of the West Virginia Medicaid program after hearing about the number of Marion County children, adults, people with disabilities, and lower-income seniors who rely on Medicaid health insurance coverage.

In Marion County there are 14,444 people, or 26% of the county population, who were enrolled in Medicaid in July 2015. County enrollment varies from 48% in McDowell to 15% in Monongalia County.

The presentation, by Lisa Diehl of West Virginians for Affordable Health Care (WVAHC), included data on the new dollars that came into the county through Medicaid. This flow of money generates new jobs in the health-care sector, and has a positive ripple effect creating even more jobs across all other economic sectors.

For a copy of the resolution or to have a speaker from WVAHC come to a meeting in your community, contact Kathleen Stoll.

Growing the Middle Class Will Grow the Economy

For too long, policymakers in West Virginia have relied on a trickle-down approach to state economic policy that emphasizes putting more money in the hands of the wealthy and large corporations. Instead of pushing money upwards in the hope it will trickle down, policymakers should focus on expanding the middle class – who are the real job creators.

Read Ted’s complete op-ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

man_scanning_boxes.jpg