West Virginians are well worth the investment

Jan. 7 — With Congress convening this week, the State Treasury has nearly $2 billion in reserves. Republicans are betting on the people of this state by addressing their obvious needs, from governors to leaders to the rank and file of both houses of Congress. After all, when was the last time these lawmakers did such a thing of their own volition?

What they do, and to their credit, what they told us they would do is take an oversized portion of those dollars and provide a significant tax cut that disproportionately favors the wealthy. And so they will fail to advance this state on multiple fronts and miss a great opportunity that may never come this way again for the next generation.

Indeed, the irony is that Governor Jim Justice, like the Charleston Democrats he once led, has been greatly weakened by major election wins for Republicans in both houses of Congress over the past four years. I bet you know.

Calling it a good thing is too much.

Republicans have a 31-3 majority in the Senate and an 88-12 majority in the House. Therefore, they can pursue any agenda they like. And they will.

The governor is currently in a tenuous, if not powerless, position. He vehemently and effectively opposed the constitutional amendment these Republican leaders put to a vote last November, a proposal to cut taxes that primarily funded county governments and, by extension, local public schools. Did. So people talked at the ballot box and the proposal went up in flames. The governor’s aggressive public opposition did not sit well with Republican leaders.

Now they’re here for the money. And since they have a supermajority, they know the governor has no power to stop them.

Senator Eric Tarr, Republican Putnam Senate Finance Committee chairman, said the new caucuses would not be obligated to consider policies that the governor would endorse.

“He came out and robbed himself and his ability to deal honestly with this Congress,” Tarr told MetroNews in November after the election chaos subsided.

“Frankly, I don’t think Congress should be wasting its precious time by the governor interfering with a strong conservative agenda.”

Well, it’s a shame Tarr and others on the ultra-conservative side of the ledger are ignoring policies that would go a long way toward fixing some of what is plaguing this state.

And I’m sorry, Governor, but as I’ve said many times, the people of West Virginia aren’t on a magic rocketship to planetary prosperity.

Instead, some 6,500 children are placed in foster care. How much does it cost to fully staff child protective services so that all children in the foster care system check in regularly and have advocates diligently following reports of abuse? do you

Or check with surviving family members of inmates who died in state custody during the past year. Thirteen alone are in Beaver’s Southern Regional Jail. How much does it cost to fully staff a prison with security and health care professionals so that inmates don’t have to fear for their lives?As of this November, state facilities In he had 1,010 vacancies out of a total of 3,800 positions. How do we solve this with tax cuts?

Or why not reverse the dreaded trend of the higher education budget shrinking proportionally from 10.8% to 9.5% of the General Revenue Fund over the past decade? We understand the benefits of making college more accessible to students, while reducing tuition and debt, increasing financial outcomes and graduating with more critical thinkers.

Or how about allocating more funds to support essential childcare workers now that federal pandemic relief funds are running low? Earning just a few dollars more than the threshold, these young people face the decision of whether to pay for child care (which averages $845 a month in West Virginia) or give up the workforce. Become. Stay home and take care of your children. Which is the healthier option for the state?

And while we are teaching, what about having a qualified teacher in every classroom? The latest figures show a shortage of 1,544 qualified teachers statewide. I’m here. How can we expect our children to have an engaging, challenging and stimulating education when teachers are overburdened, unqualified, or possibly both? mosquito?

And ask Senator Tarr what he intends to do with the states listed toward wrecks on all these fundamental issues vital to the state’s economic vitality.

For the first time in a long time, states have the resources to deal with underperforming on so many levels. Our legislators must do the right thing, the wise thing, and invest the majority of those reserves in the people of this state.

They are worth the bet.

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