Carmichael, Gaunch Want To Control Supreme’s Budget

Million$ Are $pent To Renovate Offices

After Investigative Reporter Kennie Bass, of Eyewitness News, filed a “Waste Watch report revealing that at a time when West

Mitch B. Carmichael

Virginia was facing a $500 million budget deficit, our Supreme Court of Appeals Justices were spending huge money – nearly $4 million – to renovate their capitol offices – at the expense of, us, the Mountain State’s taxpayers, reaction came quickly from West Virginia’ Senate President Mitch B. Carmichael, (R-4th) saying, “The taxpayer dollars must be respected and used in the most efficient way possible. And it did not occur here.”

“West Virginia is the only state in the union where the court has complete control over its budgetary appropriation,” former Court Administrator Steven Canterbury told Eyewitness News.

That may change, soon.

Carmichael, who represents part of Putnam County, is not alone in his criticism of the court’s budget.

In the past, another one of our state senators, Charles “Ed” Gaunch, (R-8th) has told that he favors legislative control.

Delegate Jordan Hill, (R-41st), also is calling for legislative oversight. “In a state where we have so many people struggling and living paycheck to paycheck, we have a branch of government spending ridiculous, unbelievable amounts of money on furniture, rugs, and other unnecessary items. This is disturbing and infuriating,” he posted on his Facebook page.

“I think the solution is a constitutional amendment to give the Legislature control over the judicial branch of government’s budget,” Carmichael tells The West Virginia Record. “It’s already like that in most every other state. But now, the Court submits their own budget, and we have no control over that. The issue becomes this frivolous spending. This wouldn’t occur with proper oversight.”

Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry, II, who says he is driving down spending, but has a $32,000 couch in his office, (he blames Canterbury), also wants legislative control. “It’s a constitutional amendment,” Loughry says to Eyewitness News. “Educate people, get them to vote for the Legislature controlling the money.”

Legal Journalist Chris Dickerson, of The West Virginia Record, files this report.