Jim Justice, governor of West Virginia, recently gave his second State of the State address. It was a rather standard speech as far as speeches go. However, the Republican-turned-Democrat-turned-Republican governor isn’t known for being standard. This is the man who brought a platter of actual bull shit into the capitol building to represent his feelings about the proposed state budget. He’s a man of strange symbolism.
There was no symbolism in his speech Wednesday, everything he said was very literal. State workers like teachers will receive a two percent raise for the next fiscal year. Justice admitted that a raise for teachers was overdue as they teach future generations. The raise averages to about $504 per teacher. With roughly 20,000 teachers in the state, that equals about $10,080,000 – that’s quite a bit for such a poor state even though it equals very little per employee.
Justice stated in part,
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.
And he very well should be ashamed, because he CAN do more and he is – for businessmen like himself. Like the true Republican he’s always been, he wants to cut taxes on industrial machinery, equipment, and inventory. You know, industrial, for, like, coal mines? He wants to CUT those taxes by a whopping $134 Million.
The coal industry is Justice’s business, and he has been named one of the biggest delinquent owners in the country. He owes around $4.4 MILLION in unpaid taxes. Let’s also not forget about his unpaid fines that he’s accrued by not keeping his mines to code. In total, he owes around $15 million. Cutting taxes on equipment will surely help HIS costs go down while the rest of the state suffers and has to accept their insulting two percent raise with gratitude.
Actions speak louder than words, and like other big businessmen in office, Justice’s actions show exactly who is benefiting with his ass in the seat behind the big desk.