Tax Fairness Campaign
In the summer of 2006, WVCAEF helped form a new coalition to address the proposed reformation of our state’s tax code by governor Manchin’s Tax Modernization Committee. Working with the American Friends Service Committee’s Economic Justice Project and WV Citizen Action Group, WVCAEF signed on 21 state organizations onto a “Statement of Principles for Tax Fairness.” In addition WVCAEF reps and coalition partners participated in the Committee’s public Tax Summit to promote these fairness principles. WVCAEF will continue to monitor and provide public commentary on this issue throughout the remainder of this year.
Clean Elections Campaign
- WVCAEF maintains a public database of campaign contributions to state level campaigns for the WV People’s Election Reform Coalition (PERC-WV), a collaborative project with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) and WV Citizen Action Group (WV-CAG). Using the database, PERC-WV issues reports to educate the public about the influence of special interest money in both elections and public policy.
- WVCAEF provides public education and media outreach on the need for “voter-owned,” publicly financed elections in West Virginia.
- WVCAEF supported the formation of and has worked with West Virginians for HAVA (Help America Vote Act), a grassroots group promoting accurate and secure voting technology for WV elections.
- WVCAEF worked in conjunction with other organizations to educate legislators and the public on the need to regulate 527 committees involved in state level campaigns. These efforts resulted in the nation’s first state law regulating contributions to 527 organizations.
- In 2004, WVCAEF launched Project MoVote (Mountaineers Vote), a six-month non-partisan voter registration/GOTV campaign focused on communities of color, low-income and other disenfranchised populations. Project MoVote registered over 7,500 new voters and developed an intensive public educational effort focused on early voting.
- WVCAEF received a national award from USAction Education Fund for excellence in media coverage for Project MoVote. It also received an award for its collaboration with the University of Charleston’s Service Learning Project encouraging students to vote and help register others.
- In 2005, WVCAEF worked to help form West Virginians United to Protect Social Security, a new coalition of labor, community and faith groups. West Virginians United held over 20 community forums across the state educating the public about current proposals to reform Social Security. These efforts also included hosting ten 70th birthday parties celebrating our nation’s retirement plan.
Protecting Social Security
In February 2005, WVCAEF became part of a statewide coalition aimed at protecting America’s most successful anti-poverty program, Social Security. The coalition, West Virginians United to Protect Social Security, included a diverse array of advocates, women’s groups, disability organizations, labor unions, retiree organizations and professional organizations committed to protecting Social Security from privatization, which would have cut guaranteed benefits, increased the federal deficit, opened Social Security up to corruption and Enron-ization and possibly raised the retirement age.
Medicare Part D
When Congress created the Part D prescription drug program in 2003, they designed the program to benefit the pharmaceutical industries and their other special interest campaign contributors, rather than for American seniors and disabled people. The resultant drug benefit was needlessly complicated, confusing and costly, forbid Medicare from negotiating lower prices like the Veterans Administration does, and didn’t allow enrollees the choice of a guaranteed benefit directly from Medicare. Worst of all would have had dire health consequences for millions of American seniors and disabled who would have been forced to cut back on their needed prescription drugs and worsening their health, possibly to the point of death as a result of falling into the “doughnut hole.” WVCAEF was part of an active statewide and national coalition which worked to remedy this problem by putting pressure on Congress to mandate the federal government negotiate prices, much like the Veterans Administration and every other industrialized nation do, and use the savings to help plug in the doughnut hole.
Generics Are Powerful Medicine (GPM)
WVCAEF is a proud partner of Generics are Powerful Medicine (GPM), a national consumer education program that uses grassroots outreach techniques to educate low-income and underinsured populations about the safety, value and effectiveness of generic drugs. GPM was established with $613,000 in funding from cy pres awards from the settlements of lawsuits with Smith Kline Beecham and Glaxo-Smith-Kline. These pharmaceutical firms allegedly used illegal tactics to prevent generic versions of the drugs, Augmentin and Relafen respectively, from entering the market. GPM began in 2007 and will end in the fall of 2009. The project is a joint effort of Community Catalyst and The Alosa Foundation. For more information, please visit www.genericsarepowerful.net.