There’s around 11 states in the Union that are experiencing similar problems right now. The price of fossil fuels is plummeting. These states have relied on the income generated from severance taxes to fund their governments and in turn, a lot of their infrastructure. Contrary to common belief, power generating and transmission companies do not solely maintain the infrastructure to produce and deliver power to the masses. Most of these companies and the infrastructure needed, such as transmission lines, are incentivitized by the government(s) (federal and/or state). Same goes with water systems and a lot of other things we commonly refer to as “private” businesses.
In West Virginia, politicians were riding the gravy train for many, many years. The gravy train is slowly coming to a stop and there’s NOTHING in place to replace the tax base we once had. I’ve been reading, from both sides of the aisle, where Republicans and Democrats are hailing a plan that increases (or creates) taxes to overcome these shortfalls. You’re all a bunch of idiots. You have no foresight, you’re stagnant. You need to resign, immediately, and beg someone with more intelligence in economic matters to take over. There’s no place for you in government.
You cannot tax a people into prosperity. It’s impossible in every way. It’s never worked and you’re not intelligent enough to make it work. If you think you’re exceptional and can make it happen, you should go into your trophy room and hide all of your “participation trophies” because they’re giving you a false sense of accomplishment and a false sense of self-worth.
How about this: How about shrinking the size of government? We’re one of the smallest states (population), yet, we have the 4th largest bureaucracy in the United States. When a company in the public sector has a downturn in profits over a length of time, they downsize the number of employees. Why won’t government do the same? Let me rephrase that. Why won’t West Virginia do the same? It’s happening right now in Connecticut. Connecticut is talking about laying-off 2000 or so State employees because of Obamanomics. It’s time that WV considers the same.
Let’s talk about taxes for a moment. I’ll begin listing the taxes that I have paid over the course of the last couple of years… I am just an average person, chances are, there’s some people out there that pay additional taxes that I am not listing.
- Real estate tax
- Personal property tax
- Income tax (federal)
- Income tax (state)
- Sales tax (all but food)
- Vehicle licensing
- State inspection of vehicles
- Hunting permits
- Fishing permits
- Gasoline/fuel tax (one of the highest in the nation!)
- A portion of the money I spend on furniture is a tax (not sales) on wood. I believe I am correct in saying that before the wood products reach my home, there’s a tax on the trees in the forest, when the trees are felled, when they’re processed at the lumber yard and another tax on the finished product at the furniture maker, all of which are rolled into the final cost of the wood – let alone the final sales tax.
- Public parking meters and structures
- “Resort” taxes when I stay at a hotel in a vacation area
- Service taxes on insurance
- Service taxes on cable t.v.
- Service taxes on cell phones
- Tobacco tax
- Beer/Spirits tax
- I pay to have my taxes prepared because I don’t know all the tax code, therefore, if I didn’t pay someone, I would likely screw up something because of the massive amount of regulations applied to IRS forms, so I feel that it’s mandatory that I have someone fill out my taxes or I go to jail (but hey! if I go to jail, I won’t be paying taxes!)
- Toll roads
- I am sure I am missing a few taxes here….
Then there’s our county government which has relied on coal for almost all of the luxuries we have had in the past. From the trash transfer stations (free for county citizens to dump their garbage) to some of the best police, fire and ems equipment in the state, everything we’ve done, including the court-house annex, our higher than average teacher salaries, everything, has been funded by coal tax dollars.
Now that those tax dollars are gone? Excuses.
You had your time. If you didn’t not foresee the end, that’s on you. That’s not an excuse. That’s a failure. A failure for people to think and plan ahead. “What-if” situations are what leaders are tasked with every day in real leadership roles. While I do not consider any elected or non-elected public official as being a leader of the general public, they are tasked with similar responsibilities. We the people are 100% at fault because we voted to put these people into positions of power because WE THE PEOPLE were also riding the gravy train.
Speaking of the Transfer Station, I’ve heard that even though the county is preparing to close the facilities, the employees will be moved to other positions within county government. How’s that? If they were needed elsewhere, would those other positions already be filled? Nepotism? Cronyism? Surely not in Boone County.
As I said previously, the gravy train is coming to a stop; and we need new people to take over the engineering of the rest of the ride. Whether we like it or not, the ride will continue and unless you have IMMEDIATE thoughts and plans as to what we SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW, you need to resign. There’s no room for “what-ifs” now. We’re passed that point. We need answers and we need them now. We need intelligent and educated people to step in and take over. It can be done and there’s not one person that hold political office right now that cannot be replaced, and probably, by someone much more experienced in financial/economic matters that have studied the sound economic principles that can take the controls and drive this train ahead, regardless of a downturn in the tax base.
We need new funding sources without burdening the already heavily taxed citizenry. We need to open up new avenues for revenue by getting our people back to work and out of the gutters that are filled with drugs. We need innovative ideas that are outside the normal scope of “we rely on coal severance taxes” to get us back on track. Bring in industry, bring in commercial processing facilities. Let’s fast track these mountain top mining sites that have been properly reclaimed and let’s GET TO WORK before it’s too late.
Too late? I think we’re on the verge. We’re on the verge of southern West Virginia becoming a ghost town.
I don’t want to see it happen, but if the opportunity doesn’t exist when my company decides to do lay-offs, I’ll be high tailing it out of state…. why? Because I want to work for a living, I don’t want to try and live off the government, because I can make 8x more money from working than I can public assistance and because I can make 3-4x more money out of state than I can make here.
So, if the current politicians want to do something great for West Virginia, my advice for you would be to get out of the way and push someone into office that knows more than you do…. and stop allowing those folks that are patting you on the back to control what’s left of this bleak economy. Those “handlers” that are leading you around by nose rings are the folks that are controlling whether WV lives or dies, and they’ve not been elected by the voters, YOU HAVE.