Two Great Events This Week in Buckhannon and Martinsburg!

Join Us for the First Evening of the 2016 Summer Policy Institute

The Inaugural 2016 Summer Policy Institute (SPI) will be held July 29-31, 2016 at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.

Students from across West Virginia will be a part of this first-ever event.

The first evening of 2016 Summer Policy Institute is free and open to the public! Plan to join us on July 29 at the Virginia Thomas Center for the Performing Arts!

6:30PM: Panel discussion – Moving to an Intervention and Prevention Model for Better Youth Outcomes. Panelists include Stephanie Bond with the Division of Juvenile Services; Eli Baumwell with the WV chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union; Kathy Szafran, President and CEO of Crittenton Services; Cindy Largent-Hill with the WV Supreme Court; Trudi Blaylock with PSI-Med; and Jason Nicholas with the WV Public Defenders’ office (invited: WV DHHR). The panel will be moderated by Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit. The panel will discuss how West Virginia can move more toward an intervention and prevention model instead of an institutional model when dealing with adverse youth experiences.

9:00PM: Screening of the film Paper Tigers, an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the rural community of Walla Walla, WV, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma Informed Communities, a movement that is showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).

Email info@wvpolicy.org for more information!


The Racial Wealth Divide

Please join Martinsburg Renew and Friends for a friendly, peaceful and open discussion on racial inequality in West Virginia, what it is, why it matters, and what we can do about it.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Lackey Hall
July 28 2016, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
225 S. Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV

Contact Debbie at 540-535-5145, or DeborahMM@aol.com to register.

Free and open to ALL – Let’s start the discussion. Come, Learn, Understand, Share, Unite

Legalized Marijuana and the WV Budget

At this week’s Lunch and Learn, Tara Holmes, our Summer Research Associate, presented the potential benefits to West Virginia if marijuana were to be legalized for medicinal and recreational use in the state.

Her research shows that legalizing marijuana for recreational use would bring in between $26 and $45 million a year in tax revenue from West Virginia residents alone. That number grows to $116 to $194 million when out-of-state visitors are included. Read Tara’s presentation.

Special thanks goes out to the West Virginia Covenant House for hosting the Lunch and Learn program, taking place the second Wednesday of every month.

marijuana infographic

 

Report Card: How Are States Dealing with Marcellus Shale Drilling?

The Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative has released its report card that evaluates the current policies of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in a range of policy areas. It compares policies across the three states that address the social and economic issues that unconventional drilling delivers to the communities in which it occurs. Read full report.

This scorecard informs policy-makers about the strengths and weaknesses of their respective policies. The three states can enhance their overall prosperity, and that of shale gas communities, by improving their grades – adopting policies that better mitigate the unanticipated negative impacts of unconventional gas drilling and that take better advantage of new economic activity and revenue generated by natural gas extraction.


Free Hug Friday

The weeks ending June and beginning in July have taken a toll on my heart, my spirit. From the onset of fiscal disarray in our state government to raging storms leaving my fellow West Virginians without homes, to the onslaught of violence plaguing our nation and global citizens; I felt the need to share a little love. We are facing uncertainty and with that comes fear, it was time for me to take to the streets and get out into my community to give a little love in the form of Free Hug Friday.

My friends Alexandra Gallo and Julie Warden along with Mary Mo (from Cali here to help with flood efforts) and Stacy Kay, spent an hour walking around Charleston’s Downtown giving free hugs. If you have not given a stranger a hug, try it out. The smiles, the warmth, the joy and understanding it created filled the dark spots that were looming. We can get through all of this together if we approach each task, no matter how daunting, with a full heart and understanding.

Words from your hippie wonk,
Tara Martinez

Join Us for the First Evening of the 2016 Summer Policy Institute

The Inaugural 2016 Summer Policy Institute (SPI) will be held July 29-31, 2016 at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon.

Students from across West Virginia will be a part of this first-ever event.

The first evening of 2016 Summer Policy Institute is free and open to the public! Plan to join us on July 29 at the Virginia Thomas Center for the Performing Arts!

6:30PM: Panel discussion – Moving to an Intervention and Prevention Model for Better Youth Outcomes. Panelists include Stephanie Bond with the Division of Juvenile Services; Eli Baumwell with the WV chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union; Kathy Szafran, President and CEO of Crittenton Services; Cindy Largent-Hill with the WV Supreme Court; Trudi Blaylock with PSI-Med; and Jason Nicholas with the WV Public Defenders’ office (invited: WV DHHR). The panel will be moderated by Circuit Court Judge Joanna Tabit. The panel will discuss how West Virginia can move more toward an intervention and prevention model instead of an institutional model when dealing with adverse youth experiences.

9:00PM: Screening of the film Paper Tigers, an intimate look into the lives of selected students at Lincoln High School, an alternative school that specializes in educating traumatized youth. Set amidst the rural community of Walla Walla, WV, the film intimately examines the inspiring promise of Trauma Informed Communities, a movement that is showing great promise in healing youth struggling with the dark legacy of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).

Email info@wvpolicy.org for more information!


The Racial Wealth Divide

Please join Martinsburg Renew and Friends for a friendly, peaceful and open discussion on racial inequality in West Virginia, what it is, why it matters, and what we can do about it.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Lackey Hall
July 28 2016, 6:00 to 8:30 p.m.
225 S. Queen Street, Martinsburg, WV

Contact Debbie at 540-535-5145, or DeborahMM@aol.com to register.

Free and open to ALL – Let’s start the discussion. Come, Learn, Understand, Share, Unite

FY 2016 Ends with Revenue at a Six-Year Low

FY 2016 officially came to an end on June 30th, bringing to a close one of the most difficult budget years the state has faced in years. The final revenue report for the fiscal year showed revenue totaling $4.10 billion for the fiscal year, $203 million below the estimate. However, that number was inflated by actions taken during the 2016 legislative session, which included transferring funds that would have gone to pay down the workers compensation debt fund. Those transfers totaled $128 million. Without that additional revenue, general revenue would have fallen below $4.0 billion, putting revenue at its lowest point since the depths of the recession.

Untitled

 Adjusting for inflation, revenue has declined $368 million, or 8.5% in the past 10 years.

2

The General Revenue Fund has not kept pace with growth in the economy, shrinking as a share of personal income. General Revenue as a share of personal income has fallen from 7.3% in FY 2006 to just 5.8% in FY 2016.

3

FY 2016’s poor revenue performance was due in large part to the severance tax. Severance tax collections were harmed by a rapid decline in natural gas prices, which fell 60%, and the continued struggles of the coal industry, with revenue for FY 2016 $195 million below estimates. Also missing revenue estimates were the sales tax ($39 million below), income tax ($57 million below), and the corporate net income/business franchise tax ($30 million below).

Of the state’s major tax revenue sources, only the sales tax was above its FY 2015 collection levels for FY 2016, with an increase of $3 million. The personal income tax was down $38 million, corporate net income/business franchise tax was down $42 million, and the severance tax was down $137 million from FY 2015.

July 13 Lunch and Learn: Legalized Marijuana and the WV Budget

Lunch and Learn – This Wednesday

Several states will vote this November on whether or not to legalize marijuana. If West Virginia passed such a measure, what would it mean for the state’s budget? Find out on Wednesday at our next Lunch and Learn on July 13 from 11:30AM – 1:00PM at the West Virginia Covenant House, 600 Shrewsbury Street in Charleston.

Bring your lunch and join in on the conversation!

Keep West Virginia Payday Loan Free!

Along with 14 other states, West Virginia bans payday loans. Check out this great article from our colleagues in New York on the great benefits these states have enjoyed because high-interest loans are outlawed. New Yorkers alone save $790 million in payday loan fees each year.

Help keep these predatory lenders out of West Virginia by calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to close all loopholes in its proposed rule. Go here to add your voice to the thousands of others from across the country. 

Make Child Poverty an Issue in the 2016 Election

Register for one of the Our Children Our Future workshops coming to a community near you!

Happy 4th of July!

Lucy Boettner shows her patriotic spirit

Happy 4th of July from all of us at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy!

West Virginia Flood Recovery: How to Help/How to Get Help

Questions about where to get flood recovery assistance? Want to volunteer? The West Virginia Nonprofit Association has set up this page with lots of helpful information and county-by-county resources.

Lunch and Learn – July 13

Several states will vote this November on whether or not to legalize marijuana. If West Virginia passed such a measure, what would it mean for the state’s budget? Find out at our next Lunch and Learn on July 13 from 11:30AM – 1:00PM at the West Virginia Covenant House. Bring your lunch and join in on the conversation! 

It’s Shark Week: Please Take This Quick Action Against Predatory Lending!

It’s Shark Week! The real dangerous sharks are not in the sea, but in our neighboring states, stripping billions of dollars from families and their communities.

This year, while we celebrate the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has proposed a new rule to keep loan sharks at bay, we have work to do. The rule as proposed contains loopholes that will still let loan sharks take a bite out of consumers.

Add your voice now to stop the debt trap!

Payday loans notoriously carry 300+% APR (annual percentage rate). Strategically located in low-income neighborhoods, payday lenders intentionally trap borrowers in debt that they cannot escape. The average payday borrower is trapped by ten transactions in a year.

Though West Virginia does not legalize these predatory loans, we still need a strong rule. Payday lenders will use a weak rule to seek a green light to come into West Virginia.

Support a strong rule to stop these predatory practices.

Great Communities Start With Good Conversation