As I listened to governor Earl Ray Tomblin lay out the current state of our blessed West Virginia, I couldn’t help but to give myself a headache from the constant eye rolling that was permeating the energy of my living room. As the teleprompter rolled, and the accolades spewed forth toward the token West Virginians in attendance, deflecting from anything meaningful being said about the REAL current state of affairs in West Virginia; I realized that our legislature once again has no intention of bringing our state out of the dark ages. Everyone seems content on being in a state of constant re-election and fox news rhetoric. I will give the governor credit about addressing the addiction problem, but still, the only way to squelch addiction, or at least slow it down is to provide a thriving economic culture and fortifying education. But I digress…
Being as there were hundreds of middle class West Virginian’s rallying in the capital rotunda protesting RTW (right to work) legislation, prevailing wage, and PEIA cuts, the governor only momentarily mentioned one, the cuts coming to the Public Employee’s Insurance Agency. He proposed a 45 cent tax increase on cigarettes and a %5 increase on other tobacco products, also a tax on e-cigarettes. These tax increases will yield $79 million dollars in total revenue and he promised 40+ million towards PEIA’s 120 million proposed cuts. This was a nice gesture but hardly a solution. that still leaves 80 million dollars cut from state worker benefits. Being that most state workers almost have to supplement income with second and third jobs (thank for pointing that out as an brilliant solution to our economic woes representative Householder) our benefits were what kept us docile and compliant. But now I feel that they have awakened a sleeping giant.
West Virginia has problems, we don’t need rhetoric and applause, we need solutions. We need to be progressive, not regressive. Fix education! Fix it… period! We need to acknowledge that we all have made mistakes, but we are learning from them. Invest in renewable energy…now! Be a visionary! West Virginian’s need to be vocal and express our needs. We need to hold ourselves and everyone else accountable. We need empathy. We need tolerance. We need to love one another and except that we all have flaws and shortcomings. We need leaders. I applaud the governor on helping to bring Proctor & Gamble and Addivant Plastics to the state, but it’s not enough. Governor Tomblin and the West Virginia State Legislature need to do more than participate in Politik. They need to work. Put your money where your mouth is. We are all just one tragedy away from bankruptcy, that make us vulnerable. That makes us similar.
The sleeping giant is West Virginia’s potential. It’s the thing that separates us from the rest of the country. It’s what gives us that insane dubV pride. Mountaineers are always free! Except when we are not. Right now Mountaineers are wage slaves. Our water is poison, our food is poison, and our communities are being poisoned with lies and the promise of a better tomorrow that keeps being put off to fulfill a political agenda. The State of the State was just politics as usual, fake smiles polluted with the uncontrolled snarls of contempt. Go buy your tickets and get your popcorn, because this legislative session is going to be a circus.