Well, here we are, almost four years since budget talks broke down in what we used to call “The Great State of West Virginia.”
Back then, we asked almost every day – is a budget deal in sight? And the state’s leaders would say “Oh yes, all it will take is a compromise by the other side.”
Now we can’t even ask. We can’t even get in the Capitol. It’s been covered by kudzu. Some people say they can hear the statue of Senator Robert Byrd, screaming inside, but I don’t see how that’s possible.
I don’t even know if you can remember how it was.
Our governor was like a grizzly bear, roaring for a budget that wouldn’t shut down the colleges or cut the healthcare. He wanted a teacher payraise. Now we don’t even have teachers. We don’t have schools either, unless you count the homeschoolers who suit up for what used to be public school teams.
Then there was the Legislature, like a pack of wild dogs. They said people couldn’t take any more taxes. Now we don’t have taxes at all. No one left to collect ‘em.
Thing is, business grew just like they said without those taxes. Grew like the kudzu at the Capitol. Business took over darn near everything.
The hardest for most folks to wrap their mind around is the Mylan University Mountaineers. Now and then I think about ol’ Gordon Gee, just up there with his tattered bowtie, laughing quietly to himself.
For a while, we had some hope that things could be different. Oh, they all locked themselves in a room, just like they always said they’d do, and tried to come up with some solution.
It was a pretty bad sign the first time they tried to order a pizza. The governor wanted a Meat Lovers. The legislators, they wanted veggies. He called them veggie-heads. That resulted in fisticuffs.
That pizza, it was never ordered and everyone got really hangry.
If you can imagine going downhill after that, well it did.
Normally, you’d think there’d be a way out of this mess. You’d think there’d be a new election and we could get somebody to agree on something. Well, now we don’t have any elections clerks or ballots or voting machines.
We don’t really have a whole lot, come to think of it. The only thing we’ve got is in what used to be the state museum. If you walk in there, clear the cobwebs away and blow off some dust, right there’s the prop the governor used back in 2017 to veto the budget.
That old cow dung just hardened up. It’s never going to go away.