Dogwood Daily: Income inequality rises as household income sinks in Virginia
By Davis Burroughs
September 30, 2019

Welcome to today’s edition of the Dogwood Daily. We’ve got a round-up of all of today’s Virginia news coming right up. And if you’re a fan, please forward to three friends who need to know what’s going on in the Commonwealth and tell them to subscribe here

But First…

From Oct. 1 through Oct. 10, you can take the train anywhere in Virginia and Washington, D.C. for $10 thanks to a special deal from Amtrak commemorating the 10-year anniversary of rail in the Commonwealth.

Five things you need to know today

  1. Income inequality rises in Virginia as household income dips: A new Census Bureau report shows Virginia is one of just nine states where the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. From 2017 to 2018, Virginia’s Gini coefficient, a measure of the concentration of wealth across income groups, rose 1% in favor of the wealthy. Meanwhile, the same report finds median household income in Virginia dropped one percent over the same period, from $73,155 to $72,577, while the country overall saw a modest increase. -Virginia Mercury

  2. Listen — Federal reliance might be limiting Virginia’s economy: Compared to other states, Northern Virginia’s economy is hugely dependent on federal spending. A recent report from the Fuller Institute at George Mason University finds that has held parts of the local economy back from enjoying as much of a post-recession surge as other parts of the country. -WVTF

  3. Richmond study on school construction costs delayed again: When the Richmond School Board found out in March that the cost to build three new schools had increased by $30 million, board members moved quickly to unanimously approve an outside review of construction costs. Nearly six months later, that review has not started. RPS Superintendent James Kamras said the board has been more focused on the “maintenance pieces” and “work around building the new schools.” School Board Chairwoman Dawn Page added that the board has prioritized concerns over student achievement before those over square footage, though she previously stated further delaying the study was unacceptable. -Richmond Times-Dispatch

  4. Four big environmental wins this month in Virginia: With four major clean energy announcements in September, environmental groups in Virginia should be popping bottles. First, Gov. Ralph Northam unveiled an executive order to make Virginia’s electric grid solely dependent on carbon-free energy by 2050. Then, Dominion Energy announced plans to build the largest offshore wind farm in the country. Later in the month, the Democratic Party of Virginia unanimously passed resolutions supporting 100% clean energy, a Virginia version of the Green New Deal and a $15/hour minimum wage. Finally, Arlington became the first county in Virginia to commit to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2035 and economy-wide carbon neutrality by 2050. Check out this Q&A with career environmentalist Annette Osso, now the managing director of Resilient Virginia, who reflects on Virginia’s path to 100% clean energy. -Energy News Network

  5. VW emissions scandal to fund electric school buses in Virginia: Remember when Volkswagen got in big trouble for cheating on emissions tests in the U.S.? That wasn’t great, but there’s a silver-lining: Gov. Ralph Northam announced last week $20 million from the resulting legal settlement will be used to pay for a new initiative aimed at deploying electric school buses across the state. Northam called the funding plan a significant investment in the electrification of the transportation system and said switching buses from diesel to electric would spare kids from having to breathe toxic emissions on their way to school. -Richmond Times-Dispatch

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