The forthcoming West Virginia State Budget continues to be insufficently transparent and accessable for citizen review. In addition to failing to tackle massive unfunded and growing budget liabities, it also has Constitutional flaws in regard to line item accountability.
Some good news from this legislative session is that the Legislative Leaders finally backed off previous and spurious claims of no need for a special election for Governor as well as their fall-back preference for "insider" control through a political convention. Moreover, I and other delegates sponsored legislation to require a Special Primary election for Governor, thereby giving citizens a direct vote. The Special Primary election now is scheduled for Saturday, May 14th. Are you registered to vote?
Other good news is the reduction of the grocery sales tax from 3% to 2%, even though the Speaker of the House of Delegates procedurally blocked an amendment proposed by me and thirteen other delegates, which would have completely eliminated the grocery tax.
Even more good news is the final failure to pass HB 2946, which would have required doctors' prescriptions for common cold medicines. Voting for HB 2946 were Delegates Doyle, Duke, Lawrence, and Overington. Voting against HB 2946 were Delegates Cowles, Householder, Kump, and J. Miller (Roll Call Vote #196).
Yet another bit of good news was the failure of a Constitutional Amendment to make it easier for local and county governments to pass non-school bonds and levies, thereby raising property taxes (SJR 9 & HJR 29). Delegates John Doyle and Tiffany Lawrence were sponsors of HJR 29.
The worst bit of news was passage of SB 608, mandating an over $43 million increase in motor vehicle fees. Voting for SB 608 were Delegates Doyle and Lawrence. Voting against SB 608 were Delegates Cowles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J. Miller, and Overington. (Roll Call Vote # 342). Along with this bad news was that the Legislature also spent $100 million (SB 550) to buy new gambling machines for state approved betting parlors. Voting against SB 550 were Delegates Coles, Duke, Householder, Kump, J.Miller, and Overington. Delegate Doyle voted for SB 550 and Delegate Lawrence was excused from voting, inasmuch as she is employed by one of the recipients of this funding.
Again, are you registered to vote?