Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Play

Connecting health outcomes to climate solutions and lower utility bills, Engagement Center finding success near Boston's troubled 'Mass and Cass' and more protections coming for PA Children's Service providers.

Play

Georgia breaks a state record for early voting, Democrats are one step closer to codifying same-sex marriage, and Arizona county officials refuse to certify the results of the midterm elections.

Play

A water war in Southwest Utah has ranchers and Native tribes concerned, federal solar subsidies could help communities transition to renewable energy, and Starbucks workers attempt to unionize.

Analysis: Evaluate Tax Breaks to Help Shut State Budget Gap

Play

Friday, August 16, 2013   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia faces another budget gap next year, but experts say much of it could be made up by figuring out which tax breaks are not living up to their promises.

The state expects a $300 million shortfall in 2014, and the governor has told agencies to expect another round of steep spending cuts.

Sean O'Leary, a policy analyst with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says the state should first look at tax breaks that reduce revenue.

He asserts the state does a very poor job of tracking how much the various tax breaks cost, let alone which ones are worthwhile.

"I think we could close a significant part of that budget gap if we actually took the time to come up with a number of these tax expenditures and ask the question, are they working?" he says.

The state estimates a tax credit on alternative-fuel vehicles, including flex-fuel cars and trucks, has cost a $100 million. That was much more than expected.

O'Leary says there are many other tax breaks that deserve more attention.

Last year, O'Leary was one of the authors of a West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy report on the dozens of tax breaks intended to speed economic growth. He says the center found the state didn't even know how much tax breaks cost each year, let alone how many jobs they spark.

"If it's to create jobs, are we creating jobs?” he asks. “If it's to encourage coal production, is it encouraging coal production?

“We don't ask these questions and we don't even know the true cost of all these tax expenditures."

Tax-break supporters say they do help the state promote economic development.

But officials including the secretary of commerce and the chair of the Senate Finance Committee have in the past publicly said the current level of oversight is lacking.

O'Leary cites a severance tax break that mine companies get for taking coal out of thin seams.

"Is that an activity we want to encourage?” he questions. “Is that helping the coal industry?

“Is it encouraging more production or is that something that's occurring naturally? We don't know, but we do know that it's costing $75 million a year, and growing each year."








get more stories like this via email

The city-run Engagement Center is a low-barrier day facility, which serves a few hundred people each day from the nearby "Mass and Cass" area, offering everything from bathroom facilities and a clean bed to referrals to drug-treatment facilities, dental care and even writing groups. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

Boston's 'Mass and Cass' area, with its large homeless population and open-air drug market, remains a trouble spot for city officials, but staff at …


Social Issues

Maryland's Juvenile Restoration Act has been in effect for more than a year now and its impact has people talking about additional reforms. The act …

Social Issues

Local candidates that signed onto a no-corporate-money pledge made midterm election gains in Charleston. Katie Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia …


Research indicates that the number of women who have experienced Traumatic Brain Injury secondary to domestic violence is 11 to 12 times greater than experienced by military personnel and athletes combined. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

A new statewide initiative aims to help connect domestic-violence survivors with medical providers, with a focus on treating traumatic brain injury…

Environment

A successful program that helps low-income households weatherize homes and lower energy bills is setting its sights on improving the health outcomes o…

According to First Things First, 90% of a child's brain develops before he or she starts kindergarten. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Arizona New Parent Guide is a resource that is intended to help new parents meet the challenges of having a baby and support their baby's health …

Environment

This story is based on original reporting by Elizabeth McGowan for Energy News Network, and is part of the Solutions Journalism Network-Public News …

Social Issues

In just two months, it should be easier for providers of children's services in Pennsylvania's child-welfare and foster-care system to get the …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021