CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House Minority Leader Tim Armstead says he wants Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to talk realistically about the current condition of West Virginia’s economy when he gives his State of the State Address on Wednesday night.

File photo

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40)

“If the Governor comes out and talks about, you know, ‘The state of the state is good and we’re in great shape and everything’s rosy,’ I just don’t think that’s an accurate picture,” said Armstead (R-Kanawha, 40).

As legislators prepare for the start of the 2014 Regular Legislative Session on Wednesday, Armstead said Governor Tomblin and other lawmakers cannot ignore West Virginia’s 48th ranking for job creation and the fact that the state was just one of two to lose population during the last year.

“We need to take some very strong steps to turn our economy around and we just have not been willing, as a legislature, and the legislative leadership has not been willing to do that,” said Armstead on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

He said lawmakers could start by taking serious steps to reform West Virginia’s tax code.  Even though reductions recently took effect for both the business franchise tax and the corporate net income tax, Armstead said it’s not enough.

“We still have taxes on our books that are not competitive.  We still have infrastructure issues that we need to address.  We still have overregulation in a lot of areas,” he said.  “But the biggest problem is, both on a personal basis and on a job creation basis, we’re just overtaxed in this state.”

On Sunday night, House Speaker Tim Miley (D-Harrison, 48) unveiled the first part of the session platform for House Democrats.  The initial five measures address government accountability and include proposals to deal with conflicts of interest for the state attorney general and increase oversight of how the state spends taxpayer money

Armstead said Republicans have proposed similar measures in the past.  “We have to see if they’re really serious about cracking down on ethical violations and corruption in state government and a local level and we certainly are serious about that and we want to pursue that,” he said.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will talk about his session priorities when he delivers his State of the State Address on Wednesday night.  MetroNews will bring you coverage of that speech on the MetroNews Radio Network and online at wvmetronews.com.

The session continues through Saturday, March 8.

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Comments

  • Conchop

    Wanna turn the economy around, eh? Armistead was on a TV interview stating that he wasn't going to legalize Medical Marijuana because people would use it for recreation.

    What in the world is he and the GOP thinking?

    Millions of dollars would be invested in the economy.

    A lot of sick men, women, and children could be brought back to health at a lot lower cost.

    The overcrowded prison problem would be solved, thus saving millions of dollars.

    Spin off businesses would pop up everywhere.

    Seems quite obvious the GOP just passed on a really good opportunity to turn around the economy.

    AND THE REAL IRONY ... God forbid someone would light up and smoke some of West Virginia's largest cash crop. Jeebers!

  • C.H

    With all of the God Given Natural Resorses , that this state has , Coal,Timber, Oil&Gas, Wind and we are where we are , I totally agree we need to take a hard look at ethical issues and corruption in this State at all levels because we have been sold out by someone. So Who Done IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Myron

    Teacher raises better be part of the agenda.

    • Jason412

      Yup, nothing will spur the economy like paying teachers more to continue to pump out students who (on my last check) got an "F" rating in Student Achievement.

      WV school's rank high in everything but student achievement, why is that? I think WV ranked 2nd or 3rd for "School Finance" in 2012 so obviously the supplies are there, what is the problem? That is a serious question. I want to know how paying teachers more improves student achievement, and am open minded to hear your response.

      • Aaron

        It doesn't. In fact, when Gaston Caperton caved to teacher demands and gave them raises that placed them as the 32nd highest paid teachers in the nation, nothing in test scores improved.

        Nothing but teachers don't want to talk about that.

    • Aaron

      What are teachers willing to give for these raises?

      • Joe

        Aaron.....here are a couple of ideas and, of course, I'm just spitballing here....

        1. Transition back to the 401k retirement plan as before so non-teaching taxpayers can count on basic city and county services.

        2. A total reform of work rules and the grievance process.

        3. Give the accountability of running a school including personnel hiring and firing to the current principal and school subject department heads. You, know, specific and managable points of accountability. Those of us in the real world refer to this structure as havng a boss.

        4. Have the most experienced, (seniority) teachers be assigned the lower achieving students class sections versus always the highest achieving student sections. New and younger teachers should be assigned to the higher achieving students.

        • Aaron

          While I would love to see your suggestions implemented Joe, you and I both know that that teachers aren't going to agree to any of the items you mentioned.

        • stophating

          I'll address your ideas point by point....


          #1 yet another take back.... Will drive teachers away..... Stupid idea

          #2 what do you want--18 hour work day? Drive buses, clean rooms? Yet another idea that will do nothing but drive teachers away.

          #3 have you ever heard of nepotism? Maybe you have some relatives that need a job and a principal that is a friend. Yet another stupid idea.

          #4this is laughable, but you would never understand the explanation. Stupid idea.

          Your ideas are either ineffective or would increase problems. Spend a week observing in a classroom and you will see why, or just go to a local Board of education meeting and you will see much of what I've pointed out.

          • Bo

            We all have parts of our jobs we don't like - and many employees of many companies have had to give back. Why do teachers see themselves as above this? I appreciate their service, but lots of people in lots of different jobs work hard. They need to take a look at the broader economy. Times are tough. Lots of criticism, but I don't see any ideas coming from you, hating, except pay more, pay more, pay more. With what money are we going to pay more?

          • stophating

            Why are teachers above giving back...... Look at history--we have been giving back for over 30 years. Everything that has been achieved to improve education has been teachers giving up pay raise to gain something for students.... Planning period, give up pay raise.
            That is just one example....

            Supply and demand--take a look at the jobs around the state that are open. Twenty years ago, there were 25-30 good applicants for each job.... Now, talk to personnel directors, people are being hired now that wouldn't have gotten an interview twenty years ago. Lost insurance during retirement for all hired since 2010.... What more do you want, we have given....and I won't be giving anymore...

            When this state is left without any quality teachers, maybe then can look at compensation and benefits....

          • Joe

            Stophating .... I must struck a nerve on never 4, seniority allows those teachers with the best chance at truly teaching and raising less achieving students to conveniently avoid the challenge and force much less experienced teachers to try to accomplish.

            Anyone doubt me on this, ask some parents or your local BOE.

            It is another one of those dirty little secrets teachers do not want the public to know about just like the sneaky county taxpayer funded annual step raises they never mention.

          • Jason412

            Stophating, will you explain why #4 wouldn't work? It seems like a good idea to me.

  • The Hunter.

    You know we have a great bunch of governors in the last 60 years. But this guy Earl Ray what a disappointment. But than again what do you expect from a person with the name Earl Ray.

    • wvguy

      What we have is 60 over years of one party rule. How has that worked out for this state? The only thing that will ever fix politics is term limits but it will never happen.

      • Mike

        60 years of one party? I guess Arch and Cecil were Democrats? I don't think so.

        • wvguy

          Mike, you been drinking the kool-aid again. I don't think Arch or Cecil ever passed one tax law or any law for that matter. Democrates have run this state into the ground. I will admitt, I don't see much difference in Republicans or Democrates anymore. If you have term limits, then maybe they would do what is best for the state rather than what will get them elected for life.

          • Mike

            One, you think I'm drinking the kool-aid because I stated that Arch and Cecil were republicans that led this state? They were republican governors that served in those positions totally over 20 years. That is fact.

            Second, term limits don't make people vote for what is good for the state, Good people vote for what is good for the state while bad people vote for what is good for themselves. You have both good and bad in each party.