OPINION: Justice’s Tax Hike Ideas

Will Target Too Many WV Families

During his 2016 gubernatorial campaign, James “Jim” Justice, II, (D), spoke about how West Virginians are paying too many taxes.

Now he has “flip-flopped.”

During his first “State of the State” speech, on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017, Justice proposed hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes to close and estimated $500 million budget deficit.

They include:

  • Raising the West Virginia sales tax to 6.5 percent
  • Adding the sales tax to professional services
  • Increasing DMV fees to $50
  • Increasing the liquor tax
  • Increasing turnpike tolls by $1
  • Increasing the gasoline tax by 10-cents per gallon

In a state where many people make poverty wages, Justice’s tax hikes are targeting too many poor people. They will also take money out of the weak economy and discourage businesses from moving to the Mountain State.

Justice spent little time speaking of bringing in new businesses, from Medical Marijuana to bamboo agriculture to plastics to oil conversion that can close the budget gap while providing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of new jobs.

As a billionaire, Justice is out-of-touch with the average West Virginian’s expenses.

PutnamCountyNews.com opposes general tax hikes that people cannot avoid. We favor:

  • A $2 per unit tobacco tax
  • Raising the liquor tax to the national average
  • Raising the hotel tax by 1-percent to pay for tourism advertising

Unlike Justice’s proposals, these taxes are on items that people do not need to get by in everyday life. 

PutnamCountyNews.com is calling on the West Virginia Legislature to reject Justice’s proposed tax hikes and,instead, concentrate on optional “sin” taxes.

The best way to climb out of debt is to bring in more revenue. In order to grow West Virginia’s economy and streamline government, we must:

  • Allow Medical Marijuana which will bring hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue.
  • Work with the Department of Agriculture to increase bamboo and timber business – renewable products that help the environment by creating oxygen.
  • Streamline West Virginia’s 55 counties into 25, eliminating redundant administrator salaries and saving West Virginia millions of dollars each year.
  • Bring in Plastics to Oil conversion to create more jobs, revenue, and reduce pollution.
  • Merge the Turnpike Authority under Department of Transportation to eliminate redundant administrator salaries.
  • Merge the West Virginia State Police with the Capitol Police to eliminate redundant administrator salaries.
  • Streamline all of the West Virginia public colleges and universities under one board of governors to reduce costs.
  • Eliminate the Inventory Tax to encourage businesses to move to West Virginia.
  • Order the Division of Highways to use “Pottycrete” to cut down on paving costs and take advantage of the longer lifespan of a Pottycrete pavement – thereby lowering the cost of paving our roadways.
  • Expand the regular session to six months to give more time to solve West Virginia’s major problems.
  • Clean up our corrupt court system to encourage businesses to move to the Mountain State.
  • Continue to trim the size of West Virgina’s personnel.
  • Conversion to the Internet for more government services.
  • Kiosks in all Department of Motor Vehicle offices for license and registration renewals and other basic documents.
  • Term limits for all elected officials.
  • Initiative process for citizen ballot proposals.
  • Recall system for all public officials.
  • Adopt a Freedom of Information Act review system similar to Kentucky’s to encourage government transparency.

Please click here to view Justice’s speech.

Following is a transcript of Justice’s speech as provided on his website:

 

“Unless y’all are all
    wanting to be here all night, you got to quit this
    clapping so much.  That’s all there is to it.
                   Thank you so, so much.  Speaker Armstead,
    President Carmichael, members of the Board of Public
    Works, Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Senate
    Minority Leader Prezioso.
                   How about that?  And I got that the first
    time.  Roman said I did pretty good with that.
                   House Minority Leader Miley, and all our
    great legislators.  Tonight is a really important night,
    You know, I want before we get into the meet and potatoes
    of what I have to say, I want to recognize a couple of
    people.  These four people came with our great Speaker
    Armstead.  These four people are principals that suffered
    through a 1,000-year flood.  You know, I firsthand know
    what the flood was all about, and it was beyond belief
    terrible.
                   I don’t know where they are, but if they
    can stand:  Mike Kelly, the Principal of Herbert Hoover;
    Missy Lovejoy, the Principal of Elkview Middle; Cindy
    Cummings, the Principal of Bridge Elementary; and Vanessa
    Brown, the principal of Clendenin Elementary.
                   Your courage goes way, way, way beyond
    being unnoticed.  You know, it took wisdom and strength
    and courage to some way, somehow, battle back.  We got a
    long ways to go.  But that’s what we do.
                   There’s another group here it’s called KVC
    Health Systems.  And there is a CEO that’s a national
    CEO.  His name is Jason Hooper.  And let me tell you what
    they’re doing.  They’re going to bring a college
    basically for foster kids to Montgomery.  A place that
    really needs us, needs our jobs, needs hope.  The great
    Gordon Gee of WVU have been terribly instrumental in
    this.  Wherever you are, Jason and your team, please
    stand as well.
                   Now, stay with me.  Isn’t this place
    reverent.  Hallowed ground.  Tonight I’m going to do the
    best in my ability to deliver a speech that I think is
    phenomenally important.  There is no question there’s
    been speech after speech delivered here.  I am telling
    you, I can’t possibly imagine that there is a time as
    dire and a time as important as tonight.
                   Now, let me tell you.  There is no
    question we’ve been fiftieth forevermore.  We’re better
    than that.  Now, like it or not like it, we’re dying
    fiftieth.  This is the most difficult and the biggest
    depression that we could ever possibly imagine.  The
    biggest of the biggest.
                   Now, let me tell you this.  On a little
    bit of light humor.  But there is a fellow, his name is
    Ricky Mokel.  He’s a comedian.  He said as a child he was
    hyper, and his dad gave him a shovel.  And he used to
    love to dig.  And he would dig and dig and dig and dig
    and dig and dig to the point in time where he couldn’t
    get out of the hole.  And then he said, “What’s the use?
    There’s no point in digging anymore, is there?”
                   Well, he says it to be funny.  Because
    then he turned, and he said he and his dad had a password
    at that point in time.  And when he would get to where
    there was no way he could get out of the that hole, he
    would go:  Help!  Help!  And his dad would come and get
    him.
                   Well, trust me.  We got to quit digging.
    We are such in the hole that we got to quit digging.  We
    got to quit working against one another.  We’ve got to
    some way hold hands with each other and run across the
    finish line together.  We’ve got to have new ideas, and
    I’ll get to those in just a few minutes.
                   The other thing is just this.  You’ve
    honored me beyond belief.  You elected me as your
    Governor, a person that had never been a politician, in
    the wake of me running as a Democrat, at a time when
    Donald Trump won our state by 17,000 million percent.
                   Now, there had to be a reason.  And the
    reason is just this simple.  And if I make some people
    mad, I just make them mad.  But the people knew that it
    didn’t matter to me.  It didn’t matter to me if you were
    a Democrat or Republican, an independent, all that
    mattered to me was one thing.  And that was that you are
    West Virginians.  And I’m a West Virginia.  And I just
    want goodness for our state.  I’ve said it over and over
    and over.
                   Now, there will be somebody that will be
    on some witch hunt to try to beat on me about something.
    But I want again to announce to the world in every way.
    I, nor my family, want anything from this other than
    goodness for you and our state.
                   Now, let me tell you.  You’ve trusted me
    with your vote.  I absolutely need you now to trust me
    with your voice.  Now, you don’t see any teleprompters
    here.  You know, a lot of news media said, you know, he’s
    folksy.  I didn’t know that I knew how to spell that.
                   But there are sure no teleprompters.  But
    you see, my definition of that would be plain talk.  And
    that’s what I think West Virginians want to hear.
                   Now, the truth is, it’s time for gigantic
    decisions.  The past four years, no matter how hard we’ve
    tried, we’ve lived off Rainy Day.  And we’ve lived off
    the low-hanging fruit that we could cut away.  We have.
    We’ve cut probably $600 million of waste.  And we’ve cut
    the Rainy Day Fund into half.
                   Now, this year, right now, you’re going to
    have to cut the Rainy Day Fund 123 million more dollars.
    No way around it.  Right now.  What are you going to
    have?  500 million.  What are you going to do?  What you
    going to do?  You’re faced with a $500 million hole in
    the bucket.  And the next year is a $700 million hole in
    the bucket.  If you cut Rainy Day more, the rate holders,
    the people that create our rates for our bonds are going
    to torpedo us.
                   We’ve got issues.  We’ve got real
    problems.  So I want to tell you this.  I don’t mean this
    in any bad way, because I’m the one that signed up to run
    for Governor.  But we’ve got an 18 carat dog’s mess,
    don’t we?  We do.  I didn’t create the dog’s mess.  I
    have inherited the dog’s mess.  And I am telling you, you
    have to have real direction and real ideas and real
    cooperation together to be able to get out of this.
                   Now, there is two ways.  Two ways you can
    get there.  And you got to forgive me, I’m not nervous,
    but I just sweat a lot.  A lot.  And I got a bad knee,
    and man does it hurt.
                   But there’s two ways you can get out of
    it — or a combination of ways.  The first way is to just
    cut more.  Cut more.  Well, let me tell you just this.
    Just think about this just for a second.  Are you
    willing — are you willing to eliminate all of our state
    parks?  Are you willing to eliminate all of your colleges
    and universities other than Marshall and WVU?  Shut them
    down?  Are you really willing to close our tracks, to not
    have dogs, and to not have horses?  Are you really truly
    willing to gut your seniors?  Are you willing to turn our
    backs on our vets?
                   I can’t get there.  I can’t get you there.
    Because you know why?  Because at the end of what I’ve
    just said, you’re halfway home.  What then are you going
    to do?  What is West Virginia going to become?  A nuclear
    waste site?  Is it going to become the place where our
    nation sends all of its prisoners all of the time.  Are
    we not better than that?
                   Now, let me give you just this scenario.
    Here’s an analogy.  You got a factory.  We’re the
    factory.  You’ve got a factory.  The factory has got a
    $100 million in the bank.  The factory is $200 million
    upset down.  Think about it.  How we going to fix it?
                   Here is what we can do.  Take the hundred
    million away from the factory just like that.  We got a
    hundred million dollars upside-down.  Then I tell you
    what’s let’s do next.  Let’s cut 25 percent of the people
    off.  And then I tell you what else let’s do.  Let’s cut
    the wages of everybody else there by 20 percent.  And
    you’re still not there.
                   So I tell you what let’s do, let’s sell 75
    percent of the equipment out of the factory.  And then,
    we in here will go home and say, “We did it.  We balanced
    the budget.”  And you know what will happen?  The sun
    will come up tomorrow, and we’ll say:  Holy horse,
    whatever, the factory is dead.  The factory is gone.  So,
    that’s where you are.
                   Now, I’m a business guy.  And I know this
    stuff.  Now, let me just do this.  Let me just tell you
    this.  I truly believe that any cuts that are out there
    that somebody can bring me that’s not going to just
    stifle us as a patient, I’m for.  I am delivering to you
    $30 million worth of cuts.  It won’t hardly move the
    needle.  I am telling you our decisions are not tough
    decisions.  They’re catastrophic decisions.
                   Now, I really want you to pay close
    attention, because I truly from the bottom of my heart
    hate tax increases.  Hate them.  I really do.  But I want
    to show you the most painless way that I think you can
    get out of this mess.
                   Now I’m going to come around here and
    write.  Here’s what you gotta do.  You gotta cut all that
    we can possibly cut.  I’ve got to have everybody in this
    state pay a half of a penny in additional sales tax.
    There is no way around it.
                   I’ve got to have you pay instead of $30 in
    DMV fees, I’ve got to have you pay 50.
                   The other thing is this, in trying to be
    fair, in trying to just be fair.  The people are here.
    Here is your people.  Here’s your people.  Here’s your
    businesses.  I’ve got to have our businesses — there’s
    lots of different ways to look at this — pay two
    two-tenths of one percent in a tax that would be
    equivalent to a B&O tax.  It is a tax that Ohio charges
    25 percent — or 25 hundredths.  We would charge 20.
                   And the other last thing I will talk to
    you about is I’ve got to have ten cents a gallon on
    gasoline.
                   Now, I am telling you:  If you don’t do
    this, you’re dead.  You’re dead beyond belief.
                   Now, let me go back over here and come
    back — well, before I go, I’m going to stay with you a
    second.  On these two right here, this one and this one,
    I want to sunset them.  Three years.  I think if you do
    what I am trying to propose to you to do, you can get rid
    of this, and you can get rid of this in three years.
                   Now, this deals with your roads.  And this
    does too.  Now, let me tell you this.  I said a minute
    ago, I am adamantly against raising your taxes.  We have
    got to find a way to not completely kill the patient.
                   Now, look what happens.  Three years, this
    goes away.  Three years, this goes away.  I’ll tell you
    about this in just one second.
                   I want to tell you one last thing.  My
    goal — Jim Justice’s goal as your Governor — is to do
    one thing, and that is to be the eighth state in this
    country with no income tax.  None.
                   Now, that’s my goal.  I hate like crazy to
    deliver to you what you have to do.  That’s my goal.
                   Now, remember, I said what I said about a
    half a penny.  What would you rather do?  Would you
    rather have your school plummeted even more.  Your
    seniors just for gotten.  Your vets forgotten.  Your
    parks closed.  Fairmont State shut down.  On and on and
    on.  Or would you be willing as a peoples to say:  I’m
    willing to pay a half penny more.  And I’m willing as a
    business to step up and pay two-tents of one percent.
    Because I love West Virginia.  And we’re going somewhere.
                   Now, listen here.  If you pay — if you
    way ten cents more for gasoline, and a little bit more on
    your DMV fees, that’s going to turn into this.  Here’s
    what it’s going to do.  It will turn into $2.8 billion.
                   Now, just stay with me.  I have four
    wonderful people back here.  And I want you to understand
    wholeheartedly what your ten cents and almost nothing in
    DMV fees — that haven’t been raised in 40 years — Think
    about it.  Almost nothing.  I am asking you to do, to
    turn into that.  And then let me show you what we can do.
                   Y’all bring this on down.
                   Now, with us tonight is
    Kevin Coll, Andy Estep, Brooke Rumbaugh, and Cody Webb.
    Brooke and Cody are students studying engineering at
    Marshall and WVU.  And Andy and Kevin already work with
    us in Highways.
                   If you’ll do this.  You see those jobs.
    You see ’em?  We can let every single road job that is on
    the books for one to three, and three to five years,
    tomorrow.  We can let them all tomorrow.  Think what this
    would do.  Just imagine what it will do.  I’ll tell you
    what it will do.  It will create 48,000 jobs in our
    state.  48,000 jobs.  It will complete the network that
    we have got to do.  It will make you tourism explode in
    this state.  Honest to Pete.  This is the 800-pound
    gorilla in the room.  Not me.
                   Now, there’s two other things I want to
    do.  And I’m going to sit because I’m sweating too much.
                   I want to bid every one of these road jobs
    specifically labor intensive.  And you know what I want
    to do from that?  I want it to be our training ground.  I
    want it to be our apprenticeship program.  I want it to
    be something that will absolutely put our displaced
    miners that find a job here, or our young people that
    learn how to do something here.  That’s an opportunity.
                   Now, let me tell you what else I want to
    do.  For all the successful bidders, I want to charge
    them a 5 percent construction severance, whatever tax
    that may be, whatever you want to call it, to the
    successful bidder only.  And my bet is, people, like me
    in business, will sharpen your pencils like crazy and it
    won’t cost us 5 percent.  It may cost us one.  And then
    you know what I want to do?  I want to pool that money.
    That money right there is $2.4 billion.  If I could let
    every job tomorrow, it would amount to $120 million of a
    5 percent pool that I would have.
                   And then you know what I want to do with
    it?  I want to fix the drug problem.  If we don’t fix the
    drug problem in this state, it will cannibalize you.
                   We have to have stiffer laws.  There’s no
    question whatsoever, a drug pusher that rolls in here —
                   You guys can roll.
                   — a drug pusher that rolls in here from
    Detroit and selling drugs, he ought to know that this is
    not going to be a fun program if we catch him.  We
    absolutely have to have a pathway to get our people that
    are hooked on these terrible drugs back into the
    community of the workforce.  We have to do something with
    all the prescription drugs.  No question whatsoever about
    that.  But we have to have treatment facilities too.
                   I would propose today if we do this, and
    those dollars flow, I would propose immediately building
    a facility in Charleston, one in the Eastern Panhandle,
    and I know the veterans are waiting on the dollars to
    come from the fireworks tax and everything to build their
    facility in Beckley.  And I would like to skim off some
    of this money to help them be able to get that facility
    built.
                   Let me go to education.  Guys, I’m a
    coach.  I’m in the school all the time.  We’ve proven how
    to be dead last.  If you had gone around me and had these
    round table discussions and listened — just listened.
    You see, that’s what I did.  And I just listened.  You got
    a bunch of really, really sad unhappy campers.  So I
    think we need gigantic education reform.
                   Here’s what I would do.  I would submit a
    bill, and I will immediately, to eliminate any of the
    unnecessary bureaucracies that we have.  We have got to
    return education back as much as we possibly can to a
    local level.  I have put in my budget a 2 percent raise
    for all classroom teachers, and I am ashamed —
                   — I’m ashamed that we can’t do more.
    Now, as far as testing, we are testing our kids t-totally
    to death.  For what?  I mean, here’s the bottom line.
    Think about it.  If we were knocking it out of the
    park — you see, I’m all results oriented.  If we were
    knocking it out of the park, you could argue with me
    we’re doing the right thing.  But for crying out loud,
    we’re dead last.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to
    figure this out.  We got to be doing something wrong.
    That’s all there is to it.  As far as the testing goes, I
    am going to propose we throw Smarter Balance in the trash
    can and we go to ACT testing.
                   Let me show you this.  Think about A
    through F for our schools.  We do it on a bell curve.
    Think about this.  Who in the world comes up with this
    stuff?  These get an A.  These get an F.  All the big
    meat and potatoes get a C.  And we call out to the world
    and say:  Come to West Virginia.  Our schools are mostly
    all C’s.
                   I don’t get it.  That’s got to go.  A
    through F is gone.
                   Now, there is a beautiful lady here
    somewhere.  Her name is Toni Poling.  She’s our Teacher
    of the Year.  If she would stand.  She teaches at
    Fairmont Senior.
                   Now, also, wherever they are, the
    beautiful lady Leah Curry, who is the West Virginia
    President of Toyota; and the gentleman, Jim Fawcett of
    Highmark is here somewhere, that made all that possible
    as well.  Thank you.
                   Let me tell you.  I said throughout the
    campaign, I said, education can be a revenue producer for
    us, and everybody looks at me:  How in the world?
    There’s no way.  There’s no way.
                   Everybody wants to go where your kids are
    going to be educated the best.  Businesses want to go
    where your kids are going to be educated the best.  We’ve
    got good teachers.  We’ve got low crime.  We’ve got good
    people.  For crying out loud, we handcuff them every way
    coming and going.  We got to stop that.  And listen here.
    Maybe it’s a twist of words on revenue producers, but if
    we could create an education mecca in West Virginia,
    honest to Pete, people would come and you couldn’t beat
    them away.  It would be a revenue producer.
                   Now, I have to say:  Jim Justice is no fan
    of consolidation.
                   Again, I’ll just tell you this.  And I’ll
    ask you:  Are we this bad?  Are we this desperate.  You
    know, tell you what we could do.  We could close every
    school in the state to save us some money, except we
    could have one.  And we could have just one somewhere
    close to Charleston.  And we’ll bus every kid four hours,
    no more than four hours one way.
                   We’re not that bad.  We just have to have
    ideas.  And we’ve got to have hope.  Now, I truly mean
    this.  One of the flood ravaged towns that I truly
    believe is coming back, and I can see it just like I can
    see it tomorrow:  I hope and pray that we end up with a
    school in Richwood.
                   Now, let me tell you this.  Our veterans
    are phenomenally important.  They’ve given everything to
    us, haven’t they?  Everything.  Do we really take care of
    them?  I mean, for crying out loud, we can’t even
    maintain their cemetery.  We’ve got to do better.  We
    have to do better.
                   Now, I’ll be asking the Legislature to
    approve the increasing of our GARVEE capacity.  And this
    one — before you go, “Oh, no,” I want you to listen.
    I’ll be asking the Legislature to raise our tolls on the
    turnpike a dollar.
                   Now, before you go crazy shooting at me,
    let me just say this.  I want — I want, through your DMV
    fees, I want to charge everybody within our state eight
    bucks.  Eight dollars.  Then I want you to drive on the
    turnpike or whatever road that we would choose to toll
    for free.  So I want you to pay eight bucks, and I want
    you to drive on our turnpike, wherever it may be, for
    free.  Or whatever road we toll for free.  You see,
    77 percent of our money is coming from out of state.  If
    we could raise it and make yours as West Virginians free,
    other than eight bucks — now you may live in the Eastern
    Panhandle and I would say to you:  We need you to come
    and visit Princeton some point in time.
                   Now, if you come, for your eight bucks,
    we’re going to give you a 50 percent discount on the
    tolls.  Because you’re going to pay nothing.  And by the
    time you go through $3-$3-$3-$3-$3-$3 you’re going to feel like
    you got a real bargain.
                   And I’ll tell you just this.  Did you see
    all those highways?  Did you see all that?  Well, I will
    promise you there will be something that will be in your
    neighborhood that will be tolled as well.  As we go
    forward there’s going to have to be something in your
    neighborhood that will be tolled.  And then the people
    from Princeton can come and visit you.  And they can come
    for free too.
                            (LAUGHTER)
                   Now, I truly believe that we ought to tier
    our severance tax on coal and gas.  You know, it’s just
    this simple.  And our coal companies are really hurting.
    And I know a lot about this.  When they’re really
    hurting, we got to step up and help them.  And at that
    point in time, we probably have to step up and lower the
    severance tax.  The same way with the gas.
                   But I am telling you, I am not a hog.  I
    eat too much, but I’m not a hog.  If we have the bonanza
    that I think is in front of us with coal — especially
    metallurgical coals — what if?  What if I were to tell
    you, just this:  Think about this for a second.  If
    coal — if coal is $35, whoever is mining that is losing
    money.  Lowering the severance tax on that to 2 percent,
    or whatever you want to do, okay, I’m good.  There’s got
    to be a sweet spot to where we’re back to five.
                   What if it goes to $200 a ton?  What
    happens?  Two hundred dollars.  I know this.  There’s no
    way that your cost — anybody’s cost — is going to be
    greater than $80.  At this level right here, anybody’s
    profit is $120 a ton.
                   Listen.  I’m a grain of sand in the coal
    business that I’ve been in.  A grain of sand.  And if we
    mine 2 million tons and we make this kind of money, we
    make $240 million in a year.  We don’t need to make that
    much money.  At this point in time right here, this
    severance tax needs to be 10 percent.  All it would do is
    lower the profitability to $110 a ton.
                   All I’m saying is just this:  Like it, or
    not like it, we have had our resources extracted from
    West Virginia over and over and over, and at the end of
    the rainbow, here we stand.  We’re $500 million
    upside-down.  We can’t have it keep going on.  We can’t
    be a third-world country.  You can’t do that.
                   Now, tourism.  Tourism is so important to
    our state.  We can knock it out of the park, back double
    triple.  We probably need to reorganize the entire
    Tourism Department.  There’s ways to do that.  And the
    other thing you just got to simply put more money in it.
    We better find a way to market ourselves.  I said it a
    million times.  I said it in the inaugural speech.  For
    crying out loud, every time you turn the TV on it says:
    Come to Michigan.  Every time.  I said in the inaugural
    address, I said:  Who in the world wants to go to
    Michigan?  I mean, really?  You know, what if I called up
    tomorrow and said, I tell you what let’s do, let’s get a
    bus and let’s go to Detroit.
                   But do we market us?  We don’t.  We don’t.
    We got to do that.
                   Now, let me tell you — and I’ll be quick,
    because I know you’re tired of listening to me.  Coal has
    been so vital to us.  It’s been unbelievable.  We should
    never forget who brung us to the dance.  We should try
    with all our soul, with all in us, to try to help get our
    miners back to work.
                   There are other things.  Natural gas just
    fell out of the sky on us, didn’t it?  We need to do
    everything we can to exploit that to make it even better
    and better and better and better.  You know, there’s
    issues within natural gas.  I think it’s called joint
    development, or lease integration, that they really want.
    And I can’t possibly within me see:  Why not?  What’s
    wrong with that?  Why not?
                   Now, we can help that industry.  Listen to
    me on this.  There are other things.  I will be
    submitting with Senator Capito and Senator Manchin
    immediately — and I think that there’s a real shot — I
    will be submitting whatever the form of a bill may be to
    some way, somehow, try to drive furniture manufacturing,
    flooring manufacturing, cabinetry, back right in our lap
    to West Virginia.
                   It can truly be done.  We’ve got to do it
    through an environmental subsidy.  That’s what has to be
    done.  You see I’m the agronomy end of our agriculture
    stuff.  I know about trees.  I know about how they eat
    all the carbon.  And I know how when we take a piece of
    wood like this to a dry kiln, the carbon is right here.
    And I know when the tree falls on the ground and
    eventually the carbon will be released back in the sky,
    especially if you have a fire.  And I know we only cut
    one-third of our growth in West Virginia.
                   We are the perfect candidate for what
    President Trump wants to do in bringing manufacturing
    back to the United States, that today —
                   — today all of our furniture
    manufacturing is in Vietnam, China and Mexico.  I love
    Vietnam China and Mexico.  From a distance.  I want stuff
    for us.
                   Now, I got to say this about President
    Trump.  Many of you would wonder, but I am really good
    friends with the Trump family.  And I truly believe that
    Donald Trump will do all he possibly can as our president
    to help West Virginians.  He will.  He’s called me all
    kinds of times, and his son Eric has called all kinds of
    times, and now Don is probably going come and want to
    come and go turkey hunting with me.
                   (APPLAUSE)
                   Not Donald.  Because Donald is not a
    turkey hunter.  But let me tell you.  He truly — he
    truly, really identified with our miners.  And he
    understands the blight.  And he’s a friend.  If we give
    him a chance, he’ll really try to help us.
                   Now, as we’re winding down here, I would
    say there are certain things within government
    consolidation that we can do.  There’s no question.  I
    get it, I get it, I get it.  We need to watch every penny
    to try to save every dollar, on and on and on.  I mean,
    I’ve already started this.  And for crying out loud, I
    drive my own vehicle.  We eliminated all the vehicles in
    my little world.  You know, we’re going to try to get rid
    of some of the state’s aircraft.  We’re absolutely —
    Right now, we’ve identified 207 vehicles that we can
    basically get rid of.  And what I want to do is line them
    up in front of the Capitol and have an auction and get
    rid of them.
                   (APPLAUSE)
                   We can’t forget agriculture.
    Agriculture — let me tell you.  Furniture manufacturing.
    It can help us.  It may be two years away.  Agriculture
    can help us.  It may be two years away.  That’s why I
    said a little while ago, that 800-pound gorilla is
    setting right in your face right now.
                   When I bond that together, the gas tax and
    the DMV fees, I’ve got to go to a vote.  A vote of the
    people.  I’ve got to have 90 days after you approve it to
    go to a vote.  I am begging the people to call you and
    drive you crazy to get to that vote.  Because we have to
    do that.  We’ve got to do that and do that right now.
                   Now, and I believe — and I will do this
    immediately, I will employ some person — gosh, I can’t
    imagine being called this, a Waste Czar.  But I’ll have
    him absolutely dig into every agency known to man and try
    to find any excess monies that have been shoved away and
    hidden.  And I’ll have him look.  And I’ll have him try
    to find.
                   Now, let me just give you my philosophy of
    our regulatory agencies.  My philosophy is just this.
    You know, I’ve had the great gift to be able to hire so
    many good people.  Our cabinet choices and the people
    we’ve surrounded ourselves with, we didn’t care if they
    were republicans or democrats, independents.  They’re
    real good.  They’re really good.  I told the people at
    the DMV, I told Austin Caperton — Austin said to me, he
    said:  What do you really want to see happen?  The list
    could be a mile long, couldn’t it.  A lot of people would
    say to Jim Justice:  Jim, write a job description of what
    you do.
                   Well, I could write and write and write,
    couldn’t I?  But the bottom line is just this.  The right
    person for the right job and they’re motivated.  That’s
    what Jim Justice does.  Right person, right job, and
    they’re motivated.
                   I told Austin Caperton, I said, Austin, we
    have people coming from everywhere with any kind of
    business request under the sun.  A lot of times our
    inspectors show up, and they show up — and I hate to say
    this, because you’re going to probably think, boy, has he
    really lost it now, but they show up with a T-shirt on
    and a pair of old jeans.  They maybe haven’t shaved
    forever.  And they got a badge in their pocket.
                   Now, listen, I think they ought to look
    like something.  And the other thing —
                   — and they will look like something, or
    we’ll have them tending to Grisly Adams.
                   But the other thing is just this.  No
    matter what the request may be, I think that the first
    words out of their mouths should be:  We’re going to try
    with all in us to do what you want to do.
                   Now, did you understand what I said?  What
    I said is just this.  So many times our regulatory
    agencies absolutely, no matter what on earth we try to
    do, they’re there to tell you no.  They’re not there to
    tell us no.
                   Now, I underline — underline, underline,
    underline — nobody loves the outdoors as much as me.
    Nobody loves water as much as me.  We’re not going to
    break the law.  We’re got going to do anything to damage
    the environment to the very best of our abilities.  Or
    our waters.  But we are not going to just say no.
                   Now, let me end — and you’re saying thank
    God — let me end by just saying this.  Please, not only
    you, all the viewers that are out there, listen to me.
    This situation is beyond dire.  These people are trying.
    I’ve had the great opportunity to meet with Mitch and Tim
    and others, and all kinds of — Roman and the other Tim,
    and on and on and on.  Good people.  They’re good.
    They’re good people.  And they want to try to help, just
    like I want to try to help.  But I am telling you to the
    best that Jim Justice could possibly tell you, you
    elected me to try to get us out of Ricky Mokel’s hole.
    That’s what you elected me to do.  New ideas.  Aggressive
    ideas.  Bold ideas.
                   We’re dying.  We are dying.  It is so
    bloomin’ bad, you can’t possibly imagine it.  Now,
    there’s a way out.  There’s real prosperity in front of
    us.  There’s a way out.
                   I would tell you, a long, long time ago,
    Frankenstein, he used to walk through the streets like
    “boom, boom,” and I always thought, if you got caught by
    Frankenstein, you deserve to die.
                            (LAUGHTER)
                   Now, I would tell you just this.  If we
    don’t do anything, and all we do is kick the can down the
    road, and all we do is fight, then we deserve to die.
                   I really believe there’s a rocket ship
    ride right at our fingerprints.  A ride like you cannot
    possibly imagine.  I would say to you:  Let’s don’t just
    try to figure out how to just get by.  Let’s cannonball
    right in the middle of the pool.  We can do this.  We
    absolutely can do it.
                   Now, I would say to the outside world:
    Call all your legislators.  Call all your in-laws and
    your outlaws and your neighbors.  Call them all.  This is
    a pathway.  I’ve given you a real pathway.  And I hope
    that you’ll seriously consider it.
                   Now, it was folksy.  It was just plain
    talk.  That’s all I know.  We have an incredible,
    incredible obligation and an unbelievable opportunity.
    Now I would say with all these great people, all of you,
    together, with this great body, you can have my heart and
    soul.  I will work with you with every ounce of being
    that I have.  Together, this great body and myself — and
    this isn’t a very great body — but all of us will get
    there.
                   Now, let me tell you just this and then
    I’ll end.  My basketball teams, a lot of times they say
    two words coming out on the floor.  And they scream them.
    And do you know the other night Tom Brady led a comeback
    that was unbelievable, didn’t he?  Unbelievable.  No one
    could have possibly imagined it.  And you know what he
    did?  He took the Super Bowl trophy — I watched him do
    this — he stood on that podium and he screamed, “Let’s
    go!”  After he had won.
                   Well, I’d say to you:  Let’s go!
                   God bless you all.  Thank you.​”