Legislature Not Being “Good Steward of Tax Dollars”

Burning Money 2

TAKE ACTION NOW! Remind Bill Cole, Tim Armstead and your legislators that actions speak louder than words.  Their first responsibility is to West Virginia taxpayers—not out-of-state, special interests.  Tell them “NO” to an expensive intermediate court we don’t need and can’t afford.

West Virginia’s financial woes continue.  It is now being reported that we’re in the red for more than $350 million for this fiscal year—a deficit of nearly 10 percent.  As monthly tax collections continue to fall under budget (in December alone, it was $43 million short), there’s a real chance that by June the state could be more than $500 million in the hole.

When the current state budget was approved back in March, agencies were told they needed to tighten their belts and cut their budgets by 7.5 percent.  Then in October, Governor Tomblin ordered agencies to cut another 4 percent.  The October cuts alone took $32.5 million from our schools, colleges and universities.  Senior programs and services are being cut.  Road repairs aren’t going to be made.  Critical infrastructure we need to attract new businesses isn’t going to be built.

Another key area being cut is funding for the Public Employees Insurance Agency (PEIA).  Our teachers, public employees and retirees are not only facing a big reduction in their health benefits, but also their premiums are going up at the same time.  Those cuts are being challenged by the PEIA board.

Senate President Bill Cole’s response?  “West Virginia’s tax payers will not be left to hold the bag.”  He also claimed that “the Legislature remains committed to being a good steward of tax payer dollars.”

Why then are Senator Cole, Speaker Armstead and other legislative leaders still insisting that West Virginia waste more than $20 million on an intermediate court we don’t need?

The simple answer: the out-of-state, corporate special interests that helped finance their campaigns and independent attacks against their opponents are demanding it, whether we need it or not.

The facts show that we don’t.

The fiscal note prepared on the proposed court shows that it will cost taxpayers $9.7 million a year.  That doesn’t include the initial start-up costs or the millions more for the state agencies that will need to handle both legal and administrative appeals before the new court.  It will cost county taxpayers more too since we will need to increase the budgets for our county prosecutors.

The Legislature’s Republican leaders want to expand state government by adding an unnecessary and expensive intermediate court that our state doesn’t need—at a time when we’re hundreds of millions in the hole and critical state programs are being cut.  Does that sound like being a “good steward of tax payer dollars” to you?  Didn’t think so.

Don’t leave West Virginia taxpayers holding the bag!

TAKE ACTION NOW! Remind Bill Cole, Tim Armstead and your legislators that actions speak louder than words.  Their first responsibility is to West Virginia taxpayers—not out-of-state, special interests.  Tell them “NO” to an expensive intermediate court we don’t need and can’t afford.

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