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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

Report: Wealthiest Americans Pumped Millions into 2022 Midterm Campaigns

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Tuesday, July 19, 2022   

Most West Virginians pay taxes on every dollar they earn, while large corporations and billionaires use tax loopholes to pay as little as zero in income taxes, and in turn use the money to pump tens of millions of dollars into political campaigns, according to a new report released by West Virginia Citizen Action Group in collaboration with Americans for Tax Fairness.

The report found almost half the nearly $190 million dollars raised by the House and Senate GOP super PACs in the first 16 months of the 2022 campaign cycle came from 27 billionaires.

Gary Zuckett, executive director of the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, said Mountain State residents end up footing the bill for roads and other local government services.

"Why does this make a difference to middle- and working-class West Virginians?" Zuckett asked. "The reason it makes a difference is that every dollar that billionaires and millionaires don't pay in taxes, that tax-dodging corporations don't pay on their profits, is our tax dollars that the working class has to make up to keep our government functioning."

Billionaire political donations in 2020 were nearly double the $682 million poured into campaigns in 2016, according to data from the OpenSecrets database. Monday evening, activists rallied in Charleston outside West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin's office, calling for the passage of climate and tax-fairness legislation.

Zuckett believes lawmakers should be focusing on major campaign finance reforms ahead of the 2024 presidential election campaign, including reforming the 2009 Supreme Court decision, which paved the way for unlimited political contributions by corporations.

"We need to fix the Citizens United Ruling," Zuckett emphasized. "We need legislation that said that corporations can't spend unlimited amounts of money in politics, buying our elections."

According to the report, the nation's billionaires increased their wealth significantly during the last two years of the pandemic, from a collective $2 trillion among around 700 individuals to more than $5 trillion dollars as of last April.


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