04 June 2010

It's Sure Been Swell

Forty-two months and 2,489 posts later, I am migrating completely to Twitter. I encourage all to continue following me there for a just-the-facts approach to West Virginia government and politics. I remain grateful to this blog's readers for their years of support and encouragement.

01 June 2010

After Cuts, Slight Surplus Expected for W.Va.

Despite revenues falling short of estimates for the fiscal year, West Virginia expects to collect more in general revenue taxes that it will spend because of midyear budget cuts, The Associated Press reports.

The cuts "reduced spending by more than necessary to keep the state budget balanced," the article said.

Deputy Revenue Secretary Mark Muchow tells AP that "a rebounding economy has helped the state avoid a more serious shortfall," and "has also prompted the administration to project revenues of $3.74 billion for the budget year that begins July 1," the article said. "That would represent the first year-to-year growth since 2008."

They Voted for You: Unemployment & Recovery

U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, helped pass the American Workers, State, and Business Relief Act of 2010.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, voted against the measure along with all but one GOP House member present for the 215-204 roll call.

The legislation would provide "unemployment checks to people out of work more than six months and revive tax breaks popular with families and businesses," The Associated Press reports. "But spending cuts demanded by Democratic moderates unhappy about voting to increase the deficit will mean layoffs next year by state governments and no health insurance subsidies for people laid off after Memorial Day."

Health Care and West Virginia

The Associated Press looks at the daunting task facing the state agency assigned to help West Virginia carry out the relevant provisions of the federal health care overhaul.

Martha Walker, acting director of the Governor's Office of Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Planning, outlined her initial game plan to lawmakers during legislative interim meetings. She later elaborated on some of the approaching deadlines, costs, benefits and changes to AP.

"Everybody wants (the overhaul) to be instantaneous, but you really have to proceed a step at a time. You've got the build the framework," Walker told AP. "As we wade through this, there will be things that work and there will be things that don't. But the concept, what they're trying to accomplish, is a good thing."

West Virginia's Mine Safety Crackdown

The emergency mine inspections ordered by Gov. Joe Manchin in the wake of April's Upper Big Branch disaster yielded 128 citations for alleged violations, The Associated Press reports.

Two mines were also closed temporarily in the course of the blitz, AP's Tim Huber writes.

"Inspectors targeted 51 problem mines immediately after Manchin ordered the inspections April 14," the article said. "The remainder of the state's approximately 200 underground coal mines were examined within a week."