February 11, 2021

West Virginia's race to the bottom

 It seems like West Virginia's current crop of political leaders is hellbent on achieving full failed state status. Instead of investing in education, infrastructure, health, environment and quality of life, Gov. Justice and legislators, especially in the state senate, want to eliminate the state income tax, which brings in around $2 billion per year and makes up around 43 percent of the state's core budget.

The income tax is the only progressive tax in the state, meaning that those with higher earnings pay a somewhat higher portion. The only way to phase it out is to raise regressive taxes, which hit people with lower incomes hardest or to cut public services and programs. Or, more likely, a combination of both. 

Leaders in the house of delegates would like to phase out certain business equipment taxes which brings in $400 million or so mostly to county governments and public schools. This would also impact the ability of counties to pass levies to promote things like libraries and emergency medical services.

Oh yeah, then there's a plan to divert money from public schools via "education savings accounts" for private schools.

One of these days I'd like to hit bottom. It might be better than spiraling downward forever.

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