Government, Uncategorized

Sen. Ryan Ferns, Ryan Weld blast Gov. Jim Justice for budget veto


The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register

WHEELING, W.Va.  — West Virginia Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, wondered which of Gov. Jim Justice’s staffers suffered the indignation of having to find bull dung to bring into the state Capitol.

Sen. Ryan Weld, R-Brooke

Thursday, Justice vetoed the $4.1 billion budget the GOP-controlled Legislature passed during the weekend, but not before revealing a plate of bull dung, which he said represented the Republican plan.

“And what about the governor’s behavior would encourage people to move here?”Weld asked. “What image is he projecting?

“The bottom line is, it’s embarrassing. It shows a lack of class to bring it into the Capitol building,” Weld added.

Because Justice vetoed the budget on Thursday, he now must bring lawmakers back to Charleston to address the state’s finances — a move that comes with a price of about $30,000 per day.

“The governor is going to cost taxpayers because he is not getting what he wants,”Weld said. “This is because we passed a budget that had West Virginia living within its means, and he is not happy with that.

“He knew at the start of the session we were facing a deficit of $500 million. And his response was to propose the biggest budget increase — along with the biggest tax increase — in the history of West Virginia.”

Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, who has publicly feuded with Justice through much of the session, said he was disappointed by the governor’s veto and the approach he took to it.

Sen. Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio

“The Legislature passed a responsible budget that didn’t raise taxes on the people of West Virginia,” Ferns said.

“I think people are growing weary of the governor’s antics. This is a serious situation, and is not the place for props — especially not that kind of prop. It’s not the sort of national attention the people of West Virginia are hoping for.”

Ferns said legislators will have to work on passing tax reform legislation as a means to a compromise budget that satisfies both the Legislature and Justice.

Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, said the veto was not surprising.

“Everyone I talked to before I left Charleston thought the governor would issue a veto. And I don’t disagree with everything the governor says. I didn’t personally like where some of the emphasis was placed regarding the proposed cuts,” he said. “I think there are other areas in the budget that needed reduced first.”

“However, many in Charleston seem to think that the government needs more money, and they want to raise the tax burden to give it to them. I just disagree with the philosophy that’s driving that outlook,” McGeehan added.

Delegate Shawn Fluharty, D-Ohio, said the budget should have been tossed out by Justice.

“This budget — proposed in the final moments of session — was fictional from the start, and leadership admitted it was structurally unsound.” he said. “It included ‘revenue’ from legislation that never passed, drastically cut funding to West Liberty (University) and West Virginia Northern Community College, and wouldn’t have gone into effect until after the July 1 deadline. Quite frankly, it was a political scam.

“I’m glad the governor called the bluff on politics as usual. While leadership wants to focus on the props being used, it’s my hope they start focusing on the policy that impacts all West Virginians.”

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