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Budget Beat – November 23, 2012

October Jobs Count – State Adds Jobs For First Time in Months

October’s jobs numbers showed a reversal from previous months with the state adding instead of losing jobs. While this is good news, West Virginia is still not keeping up with the national average in terms of jobs growth. The biggest winner in October was the mining and logging sector which increased jobs by 2.5 percent. A Closer Look on page two explained the potential impact of the fiscal cliff in terms of how many jobs could be lost if the fiscal cliff is not averted. Read Jobs Count.

Bargaining for Higher Wages Can Curb Income Inequality in Mountain State

One of this week’s blog posts addressed the problem of income inequality in West Virginia and the rest of the nation. Ensuring that low-income workers can join unions and bargain collectively with employers to raise their wages is an important step, especially in a state like West Virginia that has a disproportionally high share of low-wage jobs that traps many residents in poverty. Read blog post.

Fiscal Cliff Could Damage West Virginia’s Economy

The fiscal cliff is in the news every day and a blog post this week highlighted a Pew report’s analysis of what might happen here in West Virginia were it to take effect. While the state could certainly use the revenue gained fom the expiration of tax cuts, these gains would be dwarfed by the cuts in federal spending that flow into the state. Read blog post.

Not All Parts of Fiscal Cliff Are the Created Equal

In more fiscal cliff discussion, both in Jobs Count (see above) and a blog post, the WVCBP looked at how many jobs might be lost if the fiscal cliff is not averted. Read blog post.

WVCBP In the News

Ted Boettner was quoted in Sunday’s Gazette Mail on how Patriot Coal’s decision to move away from mountaintop removal mining is a reminder that preparing the state for economic transition is important and a tool to use is the Future Fund. “The decision highlights the fragility of our state’s economy and the urgent need to take steps to ensure that we will always benefit from our rich natural resources,” he said.

Ted was also quoted in USA Today in its article on the fracking boom. “Fracking is happening and it’s not going to stop, so we have to take the high road of good regulation and taxes so communities are better off, not worse off, after it’s done.” He was quoted in another USA piece which looked at the states that are considering creating permanent mineral tax funds (AKA Future Fund) which include West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and South Dakota.

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