- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Recent editorials from West Virginia newspapers:

___

Oct. 22

Bluefield Daily Telegraph on economic growth in West Virginia last month:

In another positive sign of economic recovery for West Virginia, 54 of 55 counties reported business growth during the month of September, according to Secretary of State Mac Warner.

In a surprise, Wyoming County was third in growth with a 1.58 percent growth reported in September. The number of business entities in Wyoming County - which is located deep in the heart of coal country - increased from 505 to 511.

Tucker County was at the top with 1.68 percent growth and Morgan County was second with 1.60 percent growth.

Mercer County saw a 0.73 percent growth rate during the same reporting period, and Monroe County increased by 0.20 percent. Raleigh County reported a 1 percent growth rate.

According to the Secretary of State’s Business Statistics Database, 623 new businesses were incorporated or started in the state last month.

In another positive sign, state Department of Revenue Secretary Dave Hardy announced that he is “cautiously optimistic” about September revenue numbers.

Revenue during the month exceeded estimates in severance tax and corporate net income tax collections. Severance tax and corporate net income tax revenues put the state’s General Revenue Fund collections $11.5 million above estimate and 3.5 percent above last year’s receipts. General Revenue Collections totaled $389.2 million for September.

Excellent. The recent uptick in coal production, along with continued tourism growth here in the deep south counties, has certainly helped.

As have ongoing efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature to make West Virginia a more business-friendly state.

With hope this positive trend will continue in the months ahead.

Online: http://www.bdtonline.com/

___

Oct. 25

The Charleston Gazette on how the budget plan approved by the U.S. Senate affects West Virginia:

Republicans in Washington say they’re passing a “middle-class tax cut” - but that’s untrue. The budget plan approved Thursday by the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate is a massive giveaway to millionaires and billionaires, coupled with severe program cuts that would hurt the middle class.

FactCheck.org reported: “90 percent of the top 1 percent - those earning about $900,000 and above - would get a tax cut averaging $234,050.”

Politifact said 80 percent of the GOP tax cuts would go to the elite 1 percent as the “reform” stretches over the next decade.

CNN said middle-class families earning between $50,000 and $90,000 would get a $660 tax break at first, but soon would be hit by higher taxes.

Meanwhile, the change would slash $473 billion over a decade from Medicare, a safety net program vital to the middle class. And it would cut over $1 trillion from Medicaid, a lifeline serving 70 million lower-income Americans.

“This is the very definition of cruel,” a CNN writer commented. The West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy commented:

“The budget resolution that the Senate passed brings Congress one step closer to enacting $1.5 trillion in unpaid-for tax cuts largely for the wealthy and profitable corporations while making low- and middle-income Americans foot the bill.”

Under normal rules, Democrats in the Senate could have filibustered and halted this shameless gift to the rich, but a fast-track strategy allowed Republicans to pass it with a simple majority. Now the GOP-controlled House likely will rubber-stamp it.

This is a disgusting development for America. We’re ashamed that Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., supported it.

Online: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/

___

Oct. 18

Charleston Daily Mail on Gov. Jim Justice’s recent actions:

West Virginians have been seeing something different from freshman Gov. Jim Justice: positive messaging, friendly relations with lawmakers and signs of true leadership.

All of the above (plus citizen angst over long-neglected roads) led the governor to celebrate some big statewide and legislative victories this month.

On Oct. 7, voters overwhelmingly approved the “Roads to Prosperity” bond amendment, authorizing the state to sell $1.6 billion in road bonds. The Legislature answered the governor’s call in a special session, giving the governor everything he asked for in six issues on the special session call.

How did the governor achieve such victories after such a divisive and contested regular session of the Legislature?

Perhaps it’s because he didn’t bicker with or insult lawmakers like he had throughout the 60-day regular legislative session, and then continued that abhorrent behavior through a seemingly endless extended session.

Perhaps the governor has learned to listen - and learned that negotiating doesn’t simply mean he must implore legislators even harder to accept his desires with little consideration of their concerns.

Justice traveled about the state for the roads amendment, reaching out and speaking with groups of people in every region to encourage support for the road bond.

During this just-completed special session, nary a negative word was heard from the Big Guy. Instead of his previous self as cajoler-in-chief - including the low-point when he infamously presented a platter of cow manure to a gathering of state VIPS to express his disdain for the budget legislators approved - Justice has recently succeeded like a savvy, experienced and charismatic leader.

Congratulations, Governor. Is this the real you? If so, where have you been?

The governor’s switch from the Democrat Party - on whose ticket he was elected governor - to Republican didn’t seem to harm him. The state’s voters approved the road bond by a 73 percent positive vote. Legislators, meanwhile, approved his six special session proposals by combined votes of 720 yeas to only 36 nays - with 31 of those nays coming on one bill, the streamlined hiring procedures.

But more importantly than his party switch, his change of attitude - dealing with voters and legislators in a positive, rather than insulting way - might have made the difference.

We don’t know what the new Gov. Justice did with his old self, but we hope his old self doesn’t come back and the new and improved governor continues to lead in a positive way.

Online: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide