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Winter, Wonks and What’s Up?

Budget Beat for March 22, 2013

We are getting just a little tired of winter, how about you? As the legislation session winds down and winter appears endless, here’s what been going on this week at the WVCBP.

Ryan Budget Passes, McKinley and Rahall Vote Against It

Joining nine other Republicans, West Virginia Congressman David McKinley voted against House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan’s budget. Congressman Nick Rahall voted with the rest of the Democrats against the bill. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Chairman Ryan’s budget would get 66 percent of its budget cuts from programs for people with low and moderate incomes. Here is the roll call on the vote.

Evidence Counts – the WVCBP blog

A recent report by The American Society of Civil Engineers on the condition of the nation’s infrastructure shows that West Virginia needs to invest billions to repair its dams, bridges and roads. 47 percent of the state’s roadways are mediocre or in need of repair while 23 percent of its bridges are considered functionally obsolete. Read more in Stuart’s blog post.

As policymakers decide how to prioritize the state’s budget they need to consider the long-term effects of the millions in cuts to higher education in Governor Tomblin’s proposed FY 2014 budget. Public colleges are already responding by raising tuition and cutting programs. Read more here.

Jobs Count has been a monthly WVCBP tradition. Each month, we took Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and showed what was happening with West Virginia’s jobs picture. This week we learned that the BLS had revised its data all the way back to 2008 and the results were a completely different story for West Virginia. In fact, instead of losing 13,900 jobs in 2012, with major losses for government and mining, the state gained 1,400 jobs, with increases coming grom education and health servcies and leisure and hospitality. Read more in Sean’s blog post about these surprising changes to the data.

WVCBP in the News

It was a busy news week including two stories on the Voter ID law, one in the Charleston Daily Mail and one in the Spirit of Jefferson. A recent WVCBP report shows that the law could cost the state $5 million over the next five years while attempting to solve a voter fraud problem that does not exist. 

Cuts to higher education were in the news this week as the Charleston Gazette reported on our analysis of the governor’s FY 2014 proposed budget. How the budget cuts will impact students was reported today by the West Virginia Public News Service which also highlighted a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities which shows that West Virginia is not alone in putting education funding on the chopping block.

Some good news for the budget – projections on how much Medicaid is expected to cost over the next decade have fallen as reported here. The projections have dropped by $200 billion largely due to the Affordable Care Act.

This week Ted appeared on the Legislature Today to discuss children in poverty. Watch Ted here. Other topics were discussed as well as the legislative session starts its home stretch. The Future Fund, legislation introduced by Senate President Jeff Kessler, was cited in the Logan Banner as a way to help alleviate poverty in the southern coalfields.

Thomas, West Virginia made the Washington Post’s Travel Section this week as a place to escape to for live music, art culture and interesting history. Ever been?

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