April 01, 2016

More hunger games

One issue we've been dealing with in WV has to do with changes to the SNAP (formerly known as food stamp) program for adults without dependents. Here's a good summary of the changing scene from the Washington Post. And here's my favorite quote from the piece:

"Making people hungrier isn’t going to make them find work faster."

March 30, 2016

Bone deep

West Virginia's working people have definitely been in the cross-hairs of our Republican legislature.

First was passage of the union busting right to work for less law, which mostly effects workers in industry settings.

Then there was repeal of prevailing wage, which slammed workers on public construction projects.

In the spirit of inclusiveness, the failure of the legislature to arrive at a budget and come up with needed revenue makes it look like public employees are next.

The PEIA (Public Employees Insurance Agency) board didn't have much choice but to reinstate $120 million in benefit cuts that had been proposed before the legislative session.

It makes me wonder how all this will play out.

Meanwhile, could the war on workers have anything to do with this?

March 29, 2016

A little justice or a slap on the wrist:

Federal legal memos don't always make for the most interesting reading, but this one on the sentencing of former Massey CEO Don Blankenship is an exception:

It shocks the conscience that in the 21st century, knowing all that has been learned from decades of grief in our nation’s mines, the CEO of a major coal company would willfully conspire against the laws that protect his workers’ lives. One struggles for words to describe the inhumanity required for a mogul like Defendant to send working men and women into needless, mortal jeopardy for no purpose other than to pile up more money. The law, as it stands, offers no adequate punishment for his crime. But what the law does allow, the court should impose: a year in prison and the maximum fine. Don Blankenship owes at least that much to the men and women who worked at UBB. 

The Gazette-Mail's Ken Ward has more to say on that here.

A HOT MESS. West Virginia's state budget is in pretty much disaster mode. Programs and services have already been cut to the bone and are facing more. One perennial target of cuts is higher education, which is perverse in a state with the lowest educational attainment in the nation. A friend of mine offers some common sense solutions here. The legislative purse string, however, are held by the tax cut crew.