On March 31, we launched a new coalition, The West Virginia New Jobs Coalition.
The launch was rooted in sharing the national THRIVE Report and will require the forging of a new governing consensus that legitimizes massive government investments to reorganize different sectors of the economy. THRIVE policies will pro-actively work to mitigate the impact of past and current discriminatory policies on people of color and other marginalized groups.
Understanding that big, national and global change will be driven from the ground up, we are looking to build a national movement operation that is centralized enough to move a federal policy strategy, but nimble and decentralized enough to support state fights and policy work that create momentum for the passage of national policy. https://www.newjobswv.org/new-jobs-report/
The THRIVE Act would in effect, bring 50,000 good-paying jobs to West Virginia and we are encouraging Senator Manchin and Senator Capito to support and endorse this once in a lifetime legislation as we work to rebuild our economy, infrastructure, and land. You can read more about the legislation at www.thriveagenda.com.
On Saturday, April 10th, the West Virginia New Jobs Coalition with support from Working Families Party, The Frontline and Joy To The People, hosted a 3 city live concert series in Charleston, Morgantown and Martinsburg. This event focused primarily on bringing music, art and culture into the social justice space to amplify the important message of passing the THRIVE Act. We partnered with 7 local musicians and bands, heard from several impacted speakers and elected officials.
Dozens of artists participated in creating “The People’s Flag”, incorporating patchwork art to build 3 different iterations of the flag in each of the event locations. Over 20,000 people watched the live stream and hundreds of West Virginians took direct action by calling their legislators asking they support the THRIVE Act.
How We Defeated The Elimination of The Personal Income Tax
Our coalition partners truly shined over this legislative session by coming together with a unified message: sharing tools, resources, and people power to defend against the elimination of the personal income tax. We demonstrated the power of everyday West Virginians connecting with one another, to share their stories and put pressure on elected officials to make better choices for West Virginians.
Together, we sent thousands of text messages, made thousands of phone calls, delivering a strong message to those in positions of power, the devastating impact that eliminating the personal income tax would have on our most vulnerable people.
From Sean O’Leary at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy “We’ve covered Governor Justice and legislative leadership’s goal of eliminating the state’s personal income tax from several angles over the past few weeks, showing that states without income taxes aren’t growing any faster than states with the highest income taxes, that eliminating the income tax would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, and that replacing the income tax with higher sales taxes would likely be a net tax increase for all but the wealthiest West Virginians, while still blowing a huge hole in the budget, making major budget cuts unavoidable.
Last week, Governor Justice approved the FY 2022 budget passed by the legislature at the end of session. While the fate of the budget was up in the air for most of the session as the legislature attempted to eliminate the income tax, by the time the session came to a close, only a few bills had passed that required offsetting changes to the budget. Despite the governor proposing a “flat” budget with little new investment, the legislature made a number of cuts throughout the budget, leaving $72.7 million unappropriated. While most of these cuts are expected to be restored using the anticipated surplus at the end of FY 2021, the cuts will be built into future base budgets.” (Source: https://wvpolicy.org/fy-2022-budget-recap/)