CARPENDALE – “They call us 'Evil Republicans' when we try to fix stuff,” said 15th District Senator Craig Blair as he and fellow Senator Charles Trump and 56th Delegate Gary Howell met with residents in Carpendale.
By Ronda Wertman
CARPENDALE – “They call us ‘Evil Republicans’ when we try to fix stuff,” said 15th District Senator Craig Blair as he and fellow Senator Charles Trump and 56th Delegate Gary Howell met with residents in Carpendale.
“Show us how to do more with less,” said Blair of his role as finance chairman.
While legislators are making strides, there are still many procedures in place, which tie their hands as far as finance and budgeting.
“The legislature normally has the power of the purse, but the Supreme Court says what it wants and the legislature has to fund it,” Blair said.
For elected officials this is frustrating and residents shared their frustration when they learned that in one instance the Supreme Court spent $34,000 on a couch.
Another practice, which is costing the state money, is that unused railroad property is not taxed. This provision dating back to the establishment of the railroad means that there is no incentive for railroad companies to use or sell the property.
Howell noted that it would take a constitutional amendment to change this.
He added that West Virginia is one of the only states that have an inventory tax. While the state’s location allows for shipping to many places within two days, Amazon and other companies will not consider locating in the state because of the tax.
Howell maintains that the focus needs to be on business and not on the high speed internet and roads that everyone believes are needed to draw business.
“You have to have that anchor to bring internet in, then it will expand,” said Howell.
Trump added that legislation has been passed to help increase high speed internet.
In another unmet need in the state, Susie Root brought up the need for adult medical daycare, noting that a client in her program moved to West Virginia and is struggling to get service.
Speaking of the Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (IDD) Waiver Program, Trump noted that the state funds an $8.8 million federal match.
“A lot of it is misspent. The State of West Virginia pays parents for watching their own children,” said Trump. “Our program could serve more people, if it wasn’t being run the way it is.”
Blair agreed to set up a meeting with Root to explore the benefits of adult medical daycare for West Virginia.