CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The leaders of the state legislature didn’t venture far from the state’s economic problems in their acceptance speeches Wednesday afternoon at the state capitol.
Del. Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) was reelected House of Delegates speaker with 63 votes while Sen. Mitch Carmichael (R-Jackson) was for the first time chosen Senate president. Carmichael was elected by acclamation.
Armstead told the 100-member House a possible $400 million budget hole means there is hard work ahead but with that comes “unbelievable opportunities.”
“Yes, our budget is going to be a challenge, everyone knows that,” he said. “But that challenge also provides us new opportunities to bring our government in line with a government people can afford.”Earlier Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline,” Armstead talked about changing the budget process from a closer look at revenue estimates and then developing a budget from those numbers.
Carmichael told the Senate the state is in trouble.
“There’s no way to sugarcoat it,” he said.
He added the 60-day session, which will resume Feb. 8, must be about jobs.
“I’m asking you today to keep on trying for West Virginia. Our citizens and this state are worth the fight. The problems that confront us today transcend partisan solutions,” Carmichael said.
Armstead said while the state’s budget will get the most time and attention lawmakers shouldn’t ignore other issues that need solutions like the state’s tax structure, judicial reform and an education system that he called “over-regulated and top heavy.”
Carmicheal told his fellow senators to be ready to get to work.
“The work we undertake this legislative session will not be for the faint of heart. It will display our bravery,” he said. “When we see the benefits of our work in more jobs, better schools and a stronger economy, it will give people hope,” Carmichael said.
Notes from 1-day session:
–Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns (R-Ohio) announced the Senate has changed the name of its Committee on Labor to Committee on Workforce
–The Republican leadership in the House announced in a news release that during the last two years it had 22 fewer staff employees than the previous Democratic leadership cutting payroll costs by $367,417.