“Let’s get to work, and do great work. Thank you all!” said Governor Justice.
It was a State of the State Address marked by frequent applause. Governor Justice talking about the state’s $185 million dollar surplus, and making a promise.
“Today we have things that are so good, surpluses. No new taxes. Did you hear that, no new taxes,” said Gov. Jim Justice, (R) West Virginia.
“Certainly hearing there’s no new tax increases. That’s well-received,” said Del. Paul Espinosa, (R) Jefferson.
But there was controversy. The Governor proposing elimination of the state’s Business Investory Tax on goods and equpiment. Fellow Republicnas love it.
“The boittom line is, this is the greatest deterent to manufacturing jobs coming to the State of West Virginia,” said State Sen. Craig Blair, (R) Berkeley – Finance Committee.
But Democrats says counties will lose needed state revenue.
“If you eliminate it and didn’t have the revenue to replace it, a lot of your schools and county governments would be bankrupt,” said Del. Isaac Sponaugle, (D) Pendleton.
“One, it’s a whole lot of money. I don’t think we have that much money,” said Del. John Doyle, (D) Jefferson.
There were bipartisan cheers for other items, like getting rid of state income tax on Social Security recipients.
“We’re delighted that the Governor has proised elimination of state taxes on Social Security. We’re one of three states that taxes them at the federal rate,” said Gaylene Miller, AARP of West Virginia.
And another five-percent pay raise for all school workers and state employees.
“The governor’s State of the State Address was very encouraging for all education emplyees and service personnel,” said Fred Albert, WV American Fed. of Teachers.
The Governor also wants more than 25 million dollars, for job training for ex-drug users to get them back to work.
“By law the session must last 60-days. Now that the day-one salvo is done, there are 59 busy work days ahead. We’ll be here to cover it all the way,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.