Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

MondayMarch 15, 2021

Follow The Money… Closely

The federal Covid-19 relief bill is going to pour an unprecedented amount of money into West Virginia counties, cities and small communities.  Senator Joe Manchin, who voted for the bill has released a fact sheet detailing how $677 million will be divided. All 55 counties will receive money, with amounts ranging from $1.13 million to

FridayMarch 12, 2021

Business Group Raises Red Flags About Justice’s Tax Plan

There is trouble on the horizon for Governor Jim Justice’s proposed 60 percent cut, and eventual elimination, of the state income tax. Justice believes that without a state income tax, West Virginia will become a destination for individuals and businesses. Justice is a Republican, and Republicans have supermajorities in the House of Delegates and the

ThursdayMarch 11, 2021

Send a Message: Pass the Fairness Act

West Virginia is always searching for ways to attract more people here and encourage our young people to stay, in hopes of growing our economy.  So here is an easy one: Adopt the Fairness Act. Again this year, the West Virginia Legislature is being asked to pass a bill that outlaws discrimination in employment, housing

WednesdayMarch 10, 2021

Lawmakers Take Aim at Needle Exchanges

The West Virginia Senate has advanced a bill that renews the debate over needle exchange programs for intravenous drug users. Tuesday, the Senate approved SB 334 on a vote of 22-11.  The bill now goes to the House. As our Brad McElhinny reported, “The bill would establish a licensing requirement for syringe exchange programs, require

TuesdayMarch 9, 2021

Manchin-Justice Feud Heats Up

The political feud between Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Jim Justice has escalated, with Justice accusing Manchin of corruption. “Literally, Joe Manchin is selling his influence and making money,” Justice said at his Monday media briefing. “Joe Manchin has been a politician forever, yet he is a rich man. How could that possibly be?” Justice

MondayMarch 8, 2021

If You Cut It (WV Income Tax), Will They Come?

As I mentioned last week, we will be spending a lot of time over the next few weeks drilling down into Governor Jim Justice’s proposed phase-out of the state income tax, beginning with an initial 60 percent reduction. A big part of the pitch by Justice and others backing this plan is that more people

FridayMarch 5, 2021

Justice Rolls Out His Big Tax Plan. It’s On!

Governor Jim Justice has launched the biggest economic initiative of his tenure—legislation to eliminate the state income tax, beginning with a 60 percent reduction that will cut over $1 billion from the tax burden of West Virginians. It is an audacious plan that Justice boldly predicts will be historic for the future of the state.

ThursdayMarch 4, 2021

WV Nursing Homes Need Protection From Pandemic Lawsuits, But How Much?

The pandemic has impacted West Virginia’s nursing homes harder than any other sector.  West Virginia AARP reports that nearly 700 of the over 2,300 deaths were long-term care residents and staff. The West Virginia Legislature is now considering whether those nursing homes, as well as every other health care provider and business in the state,

WednesdayMarch 3, 2021

Gov. Justice Open to Recreational Marijuana Legalization

Governor Jim Justice’s opposition to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes appears to be softening. Justice opened the door just a crack during a virtual town hall meeting Tuesday, where the Governor was again pitching his proposed elimination of the state income tax. A questioner—Dylan from Ripley—asked, “Do you support legalizing marijuana fully to bring in

TuesdayMarch 2, 2021

WV Lawmakers Want to Clarify—Impeachment is THEIR Job

The West Virginia Legislature is considering a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would clarify its sole authority to handle impeachment cases. House Joint Resolution Two states: “No court of this state has any authority or jurisdiction, by writ or otherwise, to intercede or intervene in, or interfere with, any impeachment proceedings of the

MondayMarch 1, 2021

Governor, That’s Just Politics

Governor Jim Justice hates politics, and he frequently makes that point clear.  Justice sees the dark side of politics—the hypocrisy, below-the-belt shots, unscrupulous deal-making. He has found that presenting himself as the anti-politician works in his favor.  After all, he has won election twice as Governor—once as a Democrat and once as a Republican. However,

FridayFebruary 26, 2021

The Covid-19 Christmas Tree Bill

Supporters of President Biden’s pandemic relief package like to cite the polling data—a survey by Morning Consult/Politico finds that 76 percent of voters support the plan. Frankly, with $1.9 trillion spread over 591 pages of appropriations, I am surprised approval isn’t at 100 percent since there must be something for everyone in this cash-laden Christmas

ThursdayFebruary 25, 2021

One Person at a Time, One Shot at a Time

It is dangerous, perhaps even foolhardy, to try to predict the future during a pandemic.  However, the trendlines in West Virginia continue heading in the right direction. Here are some relevant stats based on the figures released by West Virginia’s Department of Health and Human Resources Wednesday. –The number of current active Covid-19 cases in

WednesdayFebruary 24, 2021

Senate Bill Creates Necessary Oversight for Health Boards

West Virginia legislators are engaged in a contentious debate over a bill that would give county commissioners more control over decisions made by county health departments. As explained by our Brad McElhinny, Senate Bill 12 “would require county commissioners and other health-appointing agencies, like city governments, to approve or disapprove rules passed by local health

TuesdayFebruary 23, 2021

Poll Shows WV Republicans Support Income Tax Elimination

We have yet to see all the details of Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the state’s income tax.  Justice did lay out parts of his plan in his State of the State address earlier this month. The sales tax would rise from six percent to seven-and-a-half percent. Sales tax exemptions on

MondayFebruary 22, 2021

It’s Nothing Personal, Governor

Governor Jim Justice is notoriously thin skinned. To him, all business is personal. Sometimes that serves him well. Justice has taken his role in leading West Virginia through the pandemic as a personal crusade.  As a result, West Virginia has fared better than many states and is now leading the nation in vaccine distribution. But

FridayFebruary 19, 2021

Yes, Strikes By WV Teachers Are Illegal, But Who Will Enforce It?

West Virginia Department of Highways workers went on strike in 1969.  State schoolteachers struck in 1990, 2018 and again the following year. For each strike there was always debate and disagreement over whether public employees could legally strike. And each time, courts and legal opinions found that the strikes were illegal. However, the issue has

ThursdayFebruary 18, 2021

Thanks, Rush

Rush Limbaugh changed my life. Let me explain because it’s not what you think. To me, Rush was, first and foremost, a broadcaster, an entertainer and a master communicator. He operated at the highest level of a radio talent by forming personal relationships with millions of people he never met. He revived and then perpetuated

WednesdayFebruary 17, 2021

Capito’s Crown Jewel–Republicans Overtake Democrats in WV

Republican voter registration has overtaken Democratic registration in West Virginia for the first time since 1932.  Figures from the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office show there are now 448,924 registered Republicans (36.81 percent) and 444,609 Democrats (36.46 percent), with 275,469 with no party affiliation (22.6 percent). The shift in West Virginia’s political landscape has

TuesdayFebruary 16, 2021

The Pandemic and Public Education

One of these days, after we have returned to some sense of normalcy in a post-pandemic world, we will learn just how much the virus impacted the education of our children, and the news will not be good. We know that remote learning is, for now at least, a temporary fix, and one that cannot