Report Says W.Va. Income Gap Widening

Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - More than half of West Virginians' income growth over the past three decades went to the state's top 1 percent of taxpayers -- one of the highest rates of unequal income growth in the nation, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report -- "The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2011" -- was released by the Economic Analysis and Research Network, a nonprofit research center in Washington, D.C.

In West Virginia today, the average income earned by the top 1 percent of taxpayers is 17.7 times greater than the average income earned by bottom 99 percent, according to the report.

"West Virginians are working harder and producing more, but are receiving a smaller piece of the pie," said Sean O'Leary, an analyst for the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. "Raising the state's minimum wage is one step we can take to not only help workers but boost the state's economy."

The West Virginia House of Delegates recently passed a bill to raise the state's minimum wage to $8.75 an hour by Jan. 1, 2016. The bill, which would increase wages for 127,000 workers, is now before the state Senate.

Rest of Story at Report Says W.Va. Income Gap Widening by Paul J. Nyden for the Charleston Gazette

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