Midweek Musings

Some Midweek Musings:

Tax Tussle: The House of Delegates has Governor Justice’s bill proposing a 50 percent reduction in the state income tax rates over three years up for third reading with the right to amend today.  Expect Democrats to try to modify the bill, but with only 12 members, the chances are slim there will be any significant changes made in the House. If passed, the bill then goes to the Senate, where it faces a stiffer challenge.

What is PEIA? The state’s health insurance program for some 230,000 individuals is headed toward a fiscal cliff because the cost of services is greater than the revenue generated by the premiums, including the state’s share. PEIA is both an employee benefit and a health insurance program, which means there are fiscal and political considerations when trying to decide how to fix it. Maybe lawmakers will take a crack at it this session.

Back to Work: The state Senate is trying again to pass a bill tightening up unemployment benefits. The legislation, which failed last session, would shorten the maximum duration on unemployment from 26 weeks to 12 weeks when the unemployment rate is below 5.5 percent, which is considered full employment. Workforce West Virginia Commissioner Scott Adkins told lawmakers the extended jobless benefits encourage “A lot of folks… (to) beat the system.”

Eggs-actly:  Have you noticed the price of eggs has doubled in recent months? State Ag Commissioner Kent Leonhart says there are several reasons: The avian flu has wiped out millions of laying hens (though none in West Virginia), and the prices of feed and fuel have shot up.

Pay up: A WVU Athletic Department spokesman said the University “Will honor the remainder of his (Larry Harrison’s) contract.” The former associate head basketball coach, who was fired last week, has a base salary of $318,270. His contract was set to expire at the end of June.

Adventure in Moving: U-Haul ranks West Virginia as the “25th growth state in America” based on its growth index that analyzed customer moves in 2022. That reinforces the latest Census figures showing West Virginia’s net migration gains in the state over the last two years.

Not Feeling So Great: Forbes Advisor has analyzed 21 key metrics from the CDC and the Kaiser Family Foundation and determined that West Virginia is the least healthy state. High rates of cancer, smoking and drug overdoses contribute to the poor ranking.

King in West Virginia: We celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this week, and it was 63 years ago this month (Jan. 24) that King preached at Charleston’s First Baptist Church. A Charleston Gazette editorial preceding the visit by the civil rights leader read, “Most of the people of Charleston, we think, are pleased to welcome Rev. Martin Luther King to the city.”


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