News Release: West Virginia Could Lose Billions under Ryan Budget
Massive Cuts in Federal Funding to States and Localities under Ryan Plan Could Harm West Virginia Schools, Public Health and Safety, Report Finds
Contact Ted Boettner at 304-720-8682 or firstname.lastname@example.org
— Critical federal funding for West Virginia's schools, health care, clean water, law enforcement, and other key services would be slashed under U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget, which passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
"Chairman Ryan's budget would place the burden of deficit reduction squarely on the backs of West Virginia's low-income and middle-class families while providing a windfall in tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest individuals," stated Ted Boettner, Executive Director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. "Another round of deep funding cuts to our schools, public safety, and health would harm our families, communities and economy."
Chairman Ryan's budget would cut by 18 percent the part of the federal budget that supports schools, public safety and a range of other state and local services, and that's on top of sharp cuts already scheduled to hit these programs. West Virginia could lose an additional $1.8 billion over the next decade from that area of the budget alone, known as "non-defense discretionary" spending, the report estimates.
The Ryan budget would significantly weaken West Virginia's ability to provide important services such as:
Transportation: Funding for important transportation infrastructure including roads, bridges, airports, and public transit would be reduced by 33 percent over the next decade, compared to today's levels.
- Education: The budget would threaten funding for education including Head Start, funding for high-poverty schools, and special education.
- Housing: Funding would likely be reduced for community development and rental and heating and cooling assistance for low-income families and seniors.
- Public Health: Programs that provide nutrition to newborns and expectant mothers, environmental protection, and health care, would likely face cuts.
- Workforce Training: Funding for workforce assistance including job training, child care, and unemployment insurance administration would likely face reductions.
- Public Safety: Funding to hire police officers, train them, and provide them with bullet proof vests and other equipment would all likely face funding cuts.
States and localities would face a much greater reduction in funding under the Ryan budget than under automatic cuts known as "sequestration," likely bringing funding for state and local services far below historical levels. By 2023, the Ryan budget would reduce discretionary state and local grants to an estimated 0.7 percent of GDP—half of the average of the last 35 years.
The Ryan budget also would cut federal funding for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by nearly a third by 2023, which would almost certainly force West Virginia to sharply scale back or eliminate Medicaid coverage for many low-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities by restructuring and significantly reducing funding for Medicaid.
The cuts would be on top of deep federal funding cuts that states and localities already face as a result of previous deficit reduction measures. And, they would come at a terrible time for West Virginia, which is facing potential budget cuts of $75 million, almost half of which would come from higher education, in the proposed FY 2014 budget.
Boettner continued, "Adopting the Ryan budget would deny health care coverage to over 100,000 uninsured West Virginians."
The Center's full report can be found here.