Dec. 17, 2015 
Legislative Session 2016:
The Community Development Preview

Is your calendar marked for Wednesday, Jan. 13? If you care about state policy, mark it as the first day of the 2016 Legislative Session .

This year the Legislature is full of the same players, but they are facing a new challenge: a massive state budget deficit.

The state budget deficit is all anyone is talking about - and rightly so, since it will impact each of us in some way or another.

But here at The Hub we try to keep our focus on community development and community engagement. So we're not going to get too wrapped up in the budget hullabaloo. We'll let the state journalists cover that.

Instead, we're going to focus this issue on talking about some of the priorities identified by community development leaders, including broadband, jails and public safety, renewing the NIP tax credits and creating a state earned income tax, and urban homesteading for dilapidated properties. And we're hoping to collect some of your ideas, interest and feedback too.

So dive into our December Preview of the 2016 Legislative Session. And let us know what you'd like to see in the Legislative Hubbubs starting the week of Jan. 18.
Send your thoughts and ideas to s.tyree@wvhub.org .

Happy holidays and new year!
Stephanie Tyree - Deputy Director
West Virginia Community Development Hub

West Virginia's Counties Fear Being Victim
of Budget Rout 
While the impact of West Virginia's budget crisis on state agencies and programs are garnering plenty of public discussion, less attention is being paid to what this situation will mean for counties, w hich have equally critical service obligations to the citizens of West Virginia.  

With jails, courthouses and 911 services already  underfunded, will the state look to county coffers to fill budget gaps?

Here's the analysis from the County Commissioners' Association of West Virginia.
Online and On Demand: The role of better tech
in improving government transparency
We see the  Legislature's website  as the key resource to share information, in real time, with citizens across the state. 

But significant information barriers remain.



One question and one question only:
What policy issues do you care about?

Tax Credits: For nonprofits.
And for you.
We expect a lot of attention in the 2016 session to be paid to the state's tax code, with revenues and expenditures the unavoidable beast in the room.


Is Homesteading a Creative Solution for WV's Fight Against Blight?
Community homesteading programs attract people to purchase, renovate and reside in dilapidated homes through financial incentives.


Are You Wondering: What's all this talk about Broadband?

We thought you might be.


An opportunity to hear and participate in a legislative forum about West Virginia's broadband issues is happening in Charleston today, Thursday Dec. 17, from 1 - 5 p.m.

Point/Counter-Point: 
Are shortened interims a good idea? 
Photo by West Virginia Legislative Photography/Perry Bennett
This year West Virginia lawmakers decided to reduce the interim session schedule from three days a month to one and a half days, and cancelled interim sessions in May, July and August.

One Charleston-based state house pundit suggested this does not leave enough time for discussion and decision-making on the many critical issues now facing the state.

In response, some lawmakers argued that the changes represented an efficient streamlining of the legislature and a cost-savings.

What do you think?  We encourage you to read both the arguments yourself and come to your own conclusion.

Bill Cole and Tim Armsted:  Streamlined Interims Reap Savings


Is there a pressing issue out there that you'd like to see us cover in Point/Counter-Point?
Let us know: s.tyree@wvhub.org

Got news you'd like to share, or feedback on this email?
We'd love to hear from you!
 
The West Virginia Community Development Hub
wvhub.org
info@wvhub.org
103 Adams Street
Suite 200
Fairmont, WV 26554