By ANDREA LANNOM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice is urging residents to call legislators and ask them to support his budget proposal, saying if his plan is not adopted, the state will die.
In his approximately three-minute long video released Wednesday, Justice once again compared the state’s budget to a dying patient, saying his proposal would give the patient life.
“If we don’t fully implement this plan, or something awfully similar to this, our state is going to die,” Justice said in the video. “Our state is going to constrict to a point in time where we can’t recover.”
Calling his budget the Save Our State or SOS budget, Justice proposes, among other things, $26.6 million in cuts and $450.15 million in “revenue enhancements,” or taxes.
“The proper name should be our state’s SOS, but SOS needs to stand for Save Our State,” Justice said. “We need to be all in. It needs to be where people pay a little bit; businesses pay a little bit. We are all going to run across the finish line together.”
House and Senate leadership previously have criticized Justice’s proposal. House Speaker Tim Armstead and Senate President Mitch Carmichael previously said they were disappointed with the plan, especially as it relates to tax increases. Armstead said he doesn’t see members of the House passing a sales tax, saying he doesn’t think what the governor proposed will be what ultimately ends up passed through both chambers.
Justice said all the low-hanging fruit is gone and he plans to create 48,000 new jobs with his roads plan. Because of this, he says the state will be able to sunset the half a penny sales tax and possibly, the business tax.
“The plan I’m trying to implement will not only balance the budget, but will give the patient life and put us on a path of prosperity,” Justice said.
Justice ended the video with a call to action, urging people to call their legislators to ask them to implement his plan.
“Let your voice be heard,” he said. “Let your voice be heard from the mountaintops saying, ‘Now’s our chance.’ Ask yourself a very simple question. Why hasn’t this been fixed already? Why are we in this situation? Jim Justice didn’t put us here. I’m trying to take us out of here and fix the situation. Give me a shot and I’ll get this done.”
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