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Justice announces session will be extended one day for budget resolution

By WENDY HOLDREN

The Register-Herald

Gov. Jim Justice, seated at a desk with two empty plates — a “nothing burger” and a “mayonnaise sandwich” — representing the budget plans proposed by the West Virginia House and Senate, announced a one-day extension of the session.

“Neither do anything for you,” Justice said, elaborating on his metaphor. “That’s what they’re trying to deliver us.”

At his Wednesday afternoon press conference, he said the lawmakers have proposed budgets that will hurt West Virginia and its residents.

“We’re not going to get a budget, or we’re surely not going to get a budget that has any sense to it.”

Justice cited a recent poll showing 74 percent of West Virginians agree with his proposed budget, including a half-cent sales tax increase and a commercial activities tax for businesses, which he said is also supported by the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce.

With his plan, he said children with autism, universities, veterans and teachers in the state won’t suffer. Rather, he said his plan sets the state toward a pathway for 48,000 jobs.

“This is what we need to do… It’s a real play versus sitting on a rock and watching us all die. That takes real courage.”

He said he never thought he would have to say the words “extending the session,” as lawmakers had 60 days to reach a solution.

“But we’re going absolutely nowhere, so I’m extending the session for one day. In one day, we ought to be able to get everything done in regard to this budget.”

Justice said West Virginians should not be paying additional money for lawmakers to continue working after their regular session.

“It takes nerve and it takes courage to violate the awfullest political taboo in the world, and that is to raise tax,” he said. “It takes phenomenal courage to do that. But it takes more courage to say I’m going to lay our party aside and I’m going to be West Virginian first.”

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