Budget Beat – November 15, 2013
Fiscal Notes Lacking in Accuracy, Not a Reliable Tool for State Legislators
Fiscal notes are intended to give legislators information on the financial impact of a particular bill and how much a new law will cost (or benefit) the state. They are the price tags attached to legislation. But do legislators rely on fiscal notes? This week the WVCBP released its results of survey on how lawmakers perceive West Virginia’s fiscal note process. Many did not have favorable feedback on the current system.
Coverage of the report this week: the Charleston Daily Mail, the Charleston Gazette, the Washington Post, the State Journal, and the Beckley Register-Herald. The Wheeling Intelligencer ran this endorsement saying that a Legislative Fiscal Office, an impartial agency to oversee the fiscal note process, would quickly pay for itself.
Levy Failure Holds Economy Back
Last Saturday Kanawha County voters shot down an increase of the excess school levy that would have helped fund schools and libraries. Opponents of the levy ran a very successful No New Taxes campaign but, per capita, West Virginians pay well below the national average in property taxes. Read more in Sean’s blog post.
Clearing Up Obamacare Confusion
This week the Charleston Daily Mail reported on the number of West Virginians who will lose their current health insurance coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. If you are confused by the latest on the Obamacare roll-out, and want to know how it’s all affecting West Virginia, check out Brandon’s blog posts on what the first enrollment numbers look like and why there’s still plenty of time for people to sign up.
Unemployed Workers in West Virginia Losing Earned Benefits
In another blow to those hit hard by the Recession (on top of cuts to SNAP): cuts in unemployment benefits scheduled to take effect December 18. Read more here about how 16,000 workers in West Virginia would be affected.
Families are starting to feel the impact of state budget cuts. Residents in the Northern Panhandle this week had a chance to let their legislators know how their families are being directly affected.