By Joe Severino, Charleston Gazette-Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Longtime advocates for West Virginia’s most impoverished communities say state leadership can’t miss their shot at finally getting it right.
There’s been talk inside the Capitol this legislative session about the state’s finances. Most lawmakers say the government is, for once, flush with cash. They also have a lot of ideas about how to spend it.
Republican leadership has leveraged these surpluses, which policy analysts say come from a combination of low-balling revenue estimates and billions of federal relief dollars, with the $1 billion Nucor steel recycling plant deal. Other economic projects, such as a planned electric bus facility in South Charleston, have borrowed from these surpluses. Various tax cuts and unemployment bills have consumed House and Senate floor debates.
What is not being discussed is the lingering effects of generational poverty across West Virginia, said the Rev. Matthew Watts, senior pastor of Grace Bible Church on Charleston’s West Side. Watts has been a presence in the halls of the Capitol in the last two decades, trying to win legislators’ support for bills seeking to fight poverty conditions head-on…