Friday, May 27, 2022

Play

High gas prices are not slowing down Memorial Day travel, early voting starts tomorrow in Nevada, and Oregon activists seek accountability for dioxin contamination in low-income Eugene.

Play

Education Secretary Cardona calls for action in after the Texas massacre, Republicans block a domestic terrorism vote, and Secretary of State Blinken calls China the greatest challenger to the U.S. and its allies.

Play

High-speed internet is being used to entice remote workers to rural communities, Georgia is offering Black women participation in a guaranteed income initiative, and under-resourced students in Montana get a boost toward graduation.

WV Lawmakers Make Progress on Needed Revenue

Play

Monday, May 22, 2017   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The West Virginia Legislature is getting closer to securing the revenue the state needs. But Ted Boettner, executive director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, says lawmakers aren't there yet.

Bills have passed in the House and Senate that would increase state revenue by as much as $150 million, mostly through raising and expanding the sales tax. But Boettner said they're still $100 million short for this fiscal year - and even more for next year.

"There is a tremendous amount of unfinished business. If they don't address it this year, it's highly unlikely they will next year during an election year,” Boettner said. "And at that point you're going to talk about major cuts to Medicaid, closing down several universities."

Boettner said next year's shortfall could be $140 million, depending on new revenue forecasts due this week. Some lawmakers have called for many more cuts to balance the budget. But Boettner noted that after years of budget tightening, even the Legislature has been unable to come up with enough politically viable cuts to close the gap.

Lawmakers are due back in Charleston on Tuesday.

With the revenue bills that look likely to pass, the state's budget crisis seems to be approaching a more manageable level. And Boettner said he's pleased the House is firmly opposed to what he called the "foolish plan" to phase out the state income tax when the state is running in the red.

Senate leaders had argued that enough revenue would come from additional growth sparked by the tax cuts to make up for the losses. But Boettner said House leaders recognized that as a false hope.

"Fortunately, the House rejected the Senate's offer to cut the income tax by 20 percent and repeal it. The House would like to instead focus on the sales tax,” he said.

The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy has long argued that the state should raise the taxes on tobacco and sugary drinks. But Boettner said that doesn't seem likely now.

"But when it comes to soda and cigarettes, unfortunately they haven't looked upon those again to raise,” he said. "But that would be a step in the right direction that would not only bring in revenue, but also improve our state's health."

The governor has yet to add the budget to the list of items that can be discussed during the current special session. Right now, discussions are limited to the revenue side.

More information is available at WVPolicy.org.




get more stories like this via email

Early voting locations will be open across Nevada for several weeks, from May 28 through June 10. (Jlmcanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

The Nevada primary election is June 14, and early voting starts tomorrow and runs through June 10. Mail balloting is now permanent, so every active …


Social Issues

Democrats in the Florida Legislature are reviving calls for stricter gun-control laws, following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Florida's …

Environment

This week, in honor of World Otter Day, conservation groups are looking to raise awareness about efforts to restore sea otters along more areas of …


There's been a roughly 38% drop in drowning deaths over the past two decades. (Adobe Stock)

Health and Wellness

With the unofficial start to summer, pools around Ohio are opening this Memorial Day weekend, and when it comes to swim time, experts encourage …

Environment

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of water recreation season, and before putting on a swimsuit, Iowa environmental experts say being mindful …

A 2019 report from the Economic Policy Institute found teacher shortages were especially acute in higher-poverty schools. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

As the nation processes the horrific shooting in Uvalde, where 19 children and two teachers were killed, teachers' unions across Illinois and America …

Social Issues

The cost of heading out of town this Memorial Day weekend will be higher than past years, with higher gas prices and inflation hitting travelers…

Health and Wellness

One of Connecticut's largest health systems launched a new resource in Hartford this month, aimed at helping patients access healthy and nutritious …

 

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