West Virginia Freedom Dividend
What WV Can’t Wait ForWe will keep the wealth of West Virginia in the pockets of West Virginians through an annual dividend paid to our citizens.
Whose Side We’re On
- Kids who want to stay here when they grow up
- Real Economic Development
- Small Town Main Streets
- People fighting for clean water
- Visionaries who create good jobs here in long term, sustainable industries
... and more. Click the links above to read stories from the trail.
What We’re Up Against
Out-of-state corporations have been robbing West Virginia of its land and labor forever. From salt and timber to coal and natural gas, West Virginia workers and surface owners have always worked harder and earned less than their fair share.
Meanwhile, we’ve seen our pay, pension and the profits we’ve created shipped up and out of state to landholders, CEO’s and the politicians they own.
- We will establish a social wealth fund, called the West Virginia Freedom Dividend, for all adult West Virginians who have lived in the state at least three years. This will be paid for out of a combination of five separate sources:
- Increased severance tax on natural gas.
- Increased excess acreage fees for out-of-state landholding companies
- A data dividend, derived from taxes on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and other companies that earn money based on the data provided by consumers.
- An end to corporate welfare.
- Dividends from profits realized by the State Bank of West Virginia.
- The Freedom Dividend will be administered through the State Bank of West Virginia, akin to Alaska’s social wealth fund. All of the above revenues will help capitalize the State Bank, which will then pay out a dividend each year that will grow as the Bank grows.
- Our Corporate Crime and Political Corruption divisions of the state police will help insure that the above revenue sources are secured.
How We Pay For It
Revenues: $457 million. All would flow through the State Bank, and half would be paid back directly to the people of West Virginia. The other half would be used to further capitalize the State Bank. As the State Bank grows and produces its own profits, the annual dividend would rise, much like it has in Alaska.
- $265 million: Adding an additional 5% to the severance tax. (Note that this is in addition to the revenue raised here in the Mountaineer Service Corps.)
- $106 million: Increasing the excess acreage fee (Note that this rise is in addition to the revenue raised here in the Homestead Act.)
- $86 million: Ending corporate welfare. (This is a conservative estimate, as there is no full accounting of PILOT agreements, tax credits, and other tax incentives going to large corporations.)
- The data dividend could be taxed in a number of different ways: as a sort of flat “per-user” tax for data-centered companies, or something that consumers opt-in to. The total revenue from this particular stream is unknown, but we will work to establish this.
Every one of our New Deal plans was written by West Virginians.
- Our volunteers asked 11,000 of their neighbors, “What would you do if you were Governor?”
- Our candidates attended 197 Town Halls, taking notes in community centers, church basements, union halls, and small businesses.
- Educators met after work to start sketching out their perfect school.
- Nurses traded ideas on the picket line.
- Our county and constituency captains ratified a first platform in the fall of 2019 and updated it in the spring of 2020 to reflect the current pandemic.
But the legacy of this New Deal dates back to John Brown and Mother Jones, to the United Mine Workers of America and the suffragettes, to the Poor People’s Movement and the CIO.
No one politician or slate of candidates can win this plan alone. We need you.
If you have an idea for how to make this plan stronger, or if you would like to lend a hand to win it, contact our candidate for Governor Stephen Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org.