Last Monday, Governor Justice held a pro-tax cut roundtable at the Culture Center with none other than Grover Norquist who’s famous quote is, “I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.” Stephen Moore was the other out-of-state ‘expert’ at the roundtable. He helped craft the Kansas experiment that put the state budget so underwater that schools didn’t have the funds to operate and their legislature had to hold an emergency session to bump up the sales tax and finally reinstate their income tax. These are the ‘experts’ that our governor wants us to follow like lemmings off the cliff.
The Senate’s plan starts slower than the Governor’s, but has ‘triggers’ that continue to slash the income tax until it’s finally gone. They’ve also included rebates on business inventory and equipment taxes that voters nixed when they voted down Amendment 2 in November. None of this is based on anything but the near religious belief that, somehow, cutting taxes on the rich and big corporations will ‘trickle down’ prosperity on us all. Yeah, believe that one and I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn that I’ll make you a really good deal on.
Now, as we enter the final weeks of this tax cut session, we all need to make our voices heard on this issue. The bill is back in the House’s court in their Finance committee so contact your House of Delegates member (look them up here) and tell them that our state has too much deferred maintenance, underpaid public workers and teachers, and crumbling roads and bridges to be giving away a half billion in revenue from a one time surplus! Tell them to invest that money into the needs of the state and its citizens, and that will pay dividends way into the future.
No More Bills Please!
Monday, February 20th was the last day to introduce bills in the Senate. Valentine’s Day was the last to introduce bills into the House. Now there are 1,549 bills in the House and 731 bills in the Senate. That ‘last day’ applies only through the regular introduction process and doesn’t apply to bills that pop up like mushrooms ‘originating’ during a committee meeting, or to supplemental appropriation legislation. See the full legislative calendar here.
Wednesday, March 1st is “Crossover Day” when bills must pass over to the other body (House to Senate and vice versa) or be considered dead for the session. Backing up from there bills must pass out of all assigned committees by Sunday, February 26th to be read three times on the floor before being voted on. These dates are ‘flexible’ for leadership as they have the power (and usually the votes) to suspend the rules and move favored bills faster (as we’ve seen the Senate do several times already this session) to meet the deadline. That’s enough wonkiness for this newsletter, but these are the markers that rule our actions at the Legislature.
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Going into the weeds above reminded me of the comment of one of our readers who came up to our table on Black Policy Day and said, “Your update is too long, make it shorter like WV Rivers or the WV Environmental Council. Sorry folks, there is a heck of a lot going on up there! We’re a multi-issue group, and, as such, try to cover as many bases as possible — Health Care for All; environmental and social justice; election protection — you name it! If we were a single track group our update would probably be a lot shorter. Much of the writing in this update is done over the weekend when many of you are off work. If It’s too long to read everything, just focus on taking action on the issue that matters most to you, send in your membership renewal and be confident that your “green energy” is giving us the energy to get into the good trouble necessary at the “Bad Idea Factory.” Thanks to all of you who have already renewed or set up a recurring donation to support our work!