Budget Beat – November 8, 2013
Another Week, Another Reason Why the State Has a Budget Deficit
The number of reasons for West Virginia’s budget deficit keeps growing. This week’s culprit is a decrease in personal income tax collections which fell almost $8 million below projections. Read more in the Charleston Gazette. Add that to the self-inflicted problem caused by business tax cuts and eliminating the food tax without providing for new sources of revenue.
On the other hand, the state’s property tax base has increased by nearly 50% since 2005. The reason? The boom in natural gas production. Some counties, like Wetzel, where gas production has seen huge growth, have seen their assessments more than double. Read more in Sean’s blog post.
Will people in West Virginia lose their current health care plan thanks to Obamacare? Not the case for 99.4% of us and the 0.6% who do are likely to end up with better, cheaper coverage. Read more in Brandon’s blog post.
We told you last week about a series of forums taking place on funding for higher education. At the South Charleston event this week, two Marshall University professors were not impressed by legislators’ reasons to avoid raising taxes on coal and soda to pay for higher education: powerful special interest groups. Read what they had to say to legislators in Ted’s blog post.
We hear a lot about how cutting business taxes creates jobs but there is no evidence to suggest this is a truism. In fact, this mindset has sent West Virginia to the bottom of the list of the most innovative states. As it turns out, low-tax states are not highly innovative. And new ideas are just what the state will need to prepare itself for the decline of the coal industry.