OPINION: Number 50 Sucks!

West Virginians Need Better Leaders

James C. “Jim” Justice, II

You may have read the recent CNBC report, ranking West Virginia as number 50 in the United States for businesses.

A short time later, WalletHub’s research shows West Virginia at the bottom of the barrel in public education.

These reports make it clear. West Virginia’s leadership is an awful failure.

The Mountain State has huge potential: Agriculture, manufacturing, Medical Marijuana, tourism, coal, technology, timber, just to name a few. Yet we continue to languish.

Recently, a tourist visited with PutnamCountyNews.com. Her reaction was typical. “This state is stuck in the past.”

Governor James C. “Jim” Justice has been vocal in placing blame on the legislature for our failures. However, he is just as guilty. Instead of line-item vetoing tax increases, he allowed the bad budget to pass without his signature. Grandstanding rhetoric doesn’t accomplish anything. We need, immediate action!

During the recent session, Medical Marijuana was one of the few job-growth bills that passed – yet it was stalled until 2019. Instead of helping businesses, legislators passed a gasoline tax increase, a DMV fee increase, and sent a message that West Virginia hurts businesses and families.

No wonder our population keeps dropping.

Justice needs to “man up” and show some leadership by, quickly, calling a special session to do, at least, the following:

  • Fast-track Medical Marijuana to the year 2017, including local growers.
  • Reduce our gasoline tax to 1-percent lower than our neighboring states.
  • Reduce the DMV fee increase to $5 instead of the $21.
  • Transform vacant mountaintop mining sites into agriculture farms, including bamboo.
  • Merge the West Virginia Capitol Police with the West Virginia State Police to reduce administration costs.
  • Reform our abusive and corrupt courts.
  • Increase tobacco and liquor taxes to the national average.
  • Allow Tesla dealerships to open in West Virginia.
  • Use “Pottycrete” to pave roads which is less expensive and lasts longer.
  • Create a state-wide recycling system which creates local jobs and extends the life of our landfills.
  • Turn the for-profit utility companies (often owned by out-of-state corporations) into local, non-profit co-ops. These include AEP, Comcast, Frontier, Suddenlink and West Virginia American Water.
  • Eliminate the inventory tax that has businesses reluctant to expand into the Mountain State.
  • Consolidate our 55 counties into 25.
  • Create one board of education for our state colleges and universities.
  • Place all government records, including judicial complaints, online for more transparency.
  • Pass a Freedom of Information Act identical to Kentucky’s which allows an immediate appeal of any denials.
  • Pass a recall election law for all state officials – elected as well as appointed and hired.
  • Eliminate the recent state college and university tuition hikes.
  • Merge the West Virginia Parkways (Turnpike) Authority With the Division of Highways to reduce administrative costs.
  • Make all elected terms only 2 years.
  • Pass term limits of no longer than 8-consecutive years for all elected officials.

Do all of the above, by August 31st and watch West Virgini move out from number 50!