Budget Beat - November 16, 2012
Does the U.S. Have a Long-Term Deficit Problem?
With the election over and the "fiscal cliff" drawing near, the nation's attention has once again turned to the federal government's budget deficit and the problems we face addressing it. Most agree that some combination of spending cuts and tax increases will be necessary in order to put the federal budget on a sustainable path, and a large part of the debate over the deficit is over how much spending should be cut versus how much tax revenue should be raised. Read blog post.
Avoiding the Cliff Effect
West Virginia is nearly a month away from reductions in childcare assistance eligibility requirements that will affect over 800 parents and 1,400 children. Families that make between 150-185 percent of the Federal Poverty Level will be dropped from the program on January 1, 2013. The changes in eligibility could not only force parents to quit their jobs because child care would become cost prohibitive, but it would further exacerbate the benefit "cliff effect." Read blog post.
Best Practices for Oil and Natural Gas Extraction Tax Policy
The independent think tank Headwaters Economics has released a report on the best fiscal practices for states and local governments with oil and natural gas extraction. Part of its conclusion is that West Virginia join other energy-producing states in creating a severance tax trust fund.
WVCBP In the News
Last Friday's report on the impact of cutting child care funding at the state level was discussed in both the Charleston Gazette and Huntington Herald-Dispatch which had an editorial stating "the bottom line, according to a new report by the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, is that the reductions will jeopardize those residents' ability to keep their jobs or continue their schooling."
On Thursday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute coreleased a report on how the income gap between the poor and well-off continues to widen nationwide and in West Virginia in particular. Both the State Journal and West Virginia Public News Service covered the report. Additionally, Bloomberg Businessweek cited West Virginia's numbers.
Health Policy Director Renate Pore was quoted in the Charleston Gazette's story about the state awaiting Governor Tomblin's decision to establish a health-care exchange or leave the job to the federal government.