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Tinkering with home rule brings needless problems

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  • Transition team must act with urgency

    Transition team must act with urgency

    Friday, December 16 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-16 11:00:16 GMT

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

  • Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Friday, December 9 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-09 11:00:15 GMT

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

  • Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Friday, December 2 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-02 11:00:19 GMT

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

You have to wonder what members of the House of Delegates and state Senate are thinking when they go about their business. The recent legislative session was another in a long line of lackluster gatherings that yielded very little in the way of positive impact. As the dust settles, only now are we finding out the ramifications of legislation that made it to the governor's desk. The changes to the home rule pilot program are already causing headaches for some cities, including Charleston.

Mayor Danny Jones announced earlier this year that he wanted to roll back the B&O tax and eliminate the tax for manufactures. It was a good plan that would encourage investment and decrease the tax burden on businesses.  Now, everything is on hold because it appears that there is a provision in the home rule bill that specifically neuters a city's ability to revise major sections of its tax code.

Home rule is an idea we must continue exploring. The current pilot program has shown some promise and cities were just starting to really utilize the tools at their disposal, but legislative tinkering during the session has created tremendous uncertainty. Now, leaders in Charleston and in city halls across the state have to try and make sense of it. This is another sad example of how our state legislature is completely disconnected from reality.

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