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State of the State: Response – Governor Justice Chose Kids Over Politics

The following is a Statement from Stephen Smith, child advocate and Director of the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition

“With this budget, Governor Justice chose kids over politics.  He chose to put forward real solutions, instead of passing the buck.  We don’t agree with every slash of red ink, or every proposal for new revenue, but the Governor’s budget ensures that West Virginia won’t go the way of Kansas or the Congo – we will not be a failed state.”


“The WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition is a proud member of the Protect WV campaign – a citizen-led effort to ensure that kids, schools, seniors, and roads would not be sacrificed because of the so-called budget shortfall.  Working West Virginia families have done our part and paid our taxes.  We have earned decent roads and good schools, the Promise scholarship and Medicaid for employees whose employers won’t provide it.  We should not have our state destroyed because of a rash of unsuccessful corporate tax giveaways passed by previous legislatures.”  

“We agree with the 70% percent of West Virginians in a recent poll, who said they favor raising revenue to maintain vital services – like education, public safety, and roads.  The Governor is listening to the majority of West Virginians.”


“For over a year, the WV Healthy Kids and Families Coalition has advocated for the tax burden to be shared more equally in West Virginia, and for the state to use infrastructure investment and highway construction to boost economic activity.  We appreciate the Governor’s efforts to remain proactive in reviving bi-partisan infrastructure investments, protecting Medicaid for working families, and earlier this week – finding a solution to the pending child care cuts headed for 12,000 children and their parents.” 


“Next Tuesday, on Valentine’s Day, 1150 children and working families will visit the Capitol for the annual Our Children, Our Future Day.  We are the beating heart of West Virginia.  We will make our case to lawmakers to protect our state – protect working families from child care cuts, protect students who deserve decent schools and scholarship opportunities, and protect our basic way of life.”


“We will continue to examine the budget in more detail, and we will fight hard where we disagree – like cuts to public broadcasting and higher education.  We will also continue to advocate for non-budgetary issues – like requiring drug prevention in every grade, or permitting local governments to create good jobs through energy efficiency, or passing second chance legislation.  But mostly, we will work hard to make sure that legislators on both sides of the aisle follow the governor’s lead and protect our state, and our children’s future.” 


We also support the statement of Ted Boettner, of the WV Center on Budget and Policy.  

Full statement at


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