I have read, several times, the Governor's State of the State address. In it, I?find many recommendations for tax increases. I have yet to hear much vocal opposition to the proposed increases, from locals anyway. I find myself wondering, if Mr. Justice was a Republican, if the outcry would be there.
Certainly, West Virginia has budget issues. There are many difficult choices that have to be made to bridge the gap between revenues and expenditures.
I do not see punishing West Virginians with multiple higher taxes as the complete fix for the problem. Adding ten cents per gallon onto already high gas prices, especially here in the Panhandle where gouging seems to be a way of life--rather than raising revenue, will simply push more people to travel across state lines to get gas more cheaply elsewhere. Those in the middle parts of the state, and in the southern counties where money is already tight, will find it nearly impossible to afford these increases.
A sales tax increase would be easier to absorb and would generate signficant monies. Many here in the home rule localities never even realized that their tax jumped from six to seven cents.
To add a $20 increase at the DMV-that seems a bit excessive; however, since it is a yearly fee, it may be easier to handle by those with lesser incomes.
I did not see a lot of examples of cuts in the Governor's statements, other than getting rid of excess vehicles. That's a good starting point; however, he must follow through with his "waste czar" whom, I?am sure, can find plenty of unnecessary state spending without closing all of our parks, shutting down our colleges, etc.
I?was amused, too, that the Governor called for increases in tourism spending. Yes, West Virginia is a great tourism draw and it can be moreso. That industry, too, is where Justice makes much his personal income. Again, had a Republican governor called for higher taxes and more money to the area of his/her personal business, the outcry would be deafening.
The double standard continues here in the Mountain State.