CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Republican-led state legislature appears to be just days away from releasing its own budget plan while Gov. Jim Justice continued to criticize some lawmakers during a public appearance Monday.
Justice was in Nitro near Interstate 64. He was there to promote his Save Our State plan which includes a few billion dollars in road construction projects including a proposed expansion of the I-64 Nitro bridge where there’s a bad bottleneck. During his remarks, Justice asked those in attendance to urge lawmakers to approve his plans.
“You’ve got plenty enough sense to know we’ve gone nowhere except down the tubes, down the tubes, down the tubes,” Justice said. “I’m giving you the opportunity and I gotta have your help because you still got some blockheads that truly just don’t get it.”
Justice has previously called lawmakers knuckleheads and called Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns (R-Ohio) a poodle and himself a grizzly bear who may just attack the poodle.
Armstead said during an appearance Monday on MetroNews “Talkline” the Republican leadership in the House and Senate would unveil a joint a budget by Thursday’s midway point of the 60-day session.
“It’s going to be one I believe we can get behind. Now it’s going to be a plan that’s going make cuts that some people aren’t going to like,” Armstead hinted.
The state is looking a potential $500 million revenue hole for next fiscal year. Governor Justice has proposed tax increases to cover most of the needed revenue. He said again Monday he can’t support budget cuts that would cripple the state.
Justice said lawmakers “don’t blooming get it.”
“They think they can figure this out by some exotic cutting by this or that and everything else under the sun. You’re out of your mind. You’re out of your mind,” Justice said.
The governor added lawmakers may be against his plan because they didn’t think of it first.
“They haven’t thought of it and now it may not be their idea–they’re going to try and come up with every concoction known to man and all it’s going to do is spin us off into no man’s land,” he said.
Armstead said from what he’s hearing Justice’s plan doesn’t have as much support as the governor believes it does.
“They want to see us reduce the spending, to control the spending of our state. The governor’s budget doesn’t do that,” Armstead said.
The House and Senate leadership will be together on the plan that’s presented later this week. Armstead said he’s looking forward to profitable discussion after it’s introduced.
“We want to have input from the governor and from the Democratic members of the legislature and all parties to come to the right budget,” Armstead said.