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Editorial: Dumb Stunt — Justice should focus on making needed cuts

From the Parkersburg News and Sentinel:

Gov. Jim Justice’s brand of folksy political theater has crossed a line, and West Virginians should let him know they have had enough. Earlier this week, Justice made the mind-boggling decision to light the emergency lantern at the top of the Capitol dome, and keep it lit for the duration of what he calls the current budget crisis. 

It was a move of such incredible insensitivity that even the normally unflappable House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, cracked.

“Last year my district got hit with one of the worst disasters in the history of our state. Twenty-three of our fellow West Virginians died,” Armstead said. “Out of respect for those people, that light was turned on at the top of the Capitol dome. For this governor to make a joke out of something that has been used to pay respect to West Virginians is embarrassing.”

For Justice, it may indeed be a crisis that he probably will not get his way. Lawmakers will demand the bloated bureaucracy finally be deflated; and state government be forced to live within its means in a way that truly serves the people of West Virginia, rather than itself. His pathetic political stunt will not distract from the task at hand, though it may grab voters’ attention in a way he was not expecting.

Justice might as well be shining that light on his plan to ask already struggling Mountain State residents to shoulder an even heavier burden, placed upon them by an out-of-control administrative class that cannot stop throwing away taxpayer money. West Virginians’ reaction to this crass performance was summed up quite well by state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson — we are disappointed.

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