MOUNT HOPE, W.Va. – Delegate Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette, today said she stands with House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, in the fight against Gov. Jim Justice’s massive tax increase plan.
“I’m proud to stand with our Speaker in our fight to control government spending and protect our citizens from the Governor’s harmful tax increases,” Delegate Kessinger said.
“As I went door-to-door last fall during the campaign, I heard stories from far too many families who were struggling to make ends meet as a result of the War on Coal and its effect on Southern West Virginia,” Delegate Kessinger said. “Unlike our Governor, I’m proud to honor the campaign promise I made to these families to protect them from higher taxes.
“Not only does our Governor’s plan raise taxes directly on our people and businesses, but it will hurt our coal industry, which is just starting to see a rebound,” Delegate Kessinger said. “The Governor’s tiered severance tax proposal would hurt many of our metallurgical coal mines – mines that have actually been doing better lately. The way this plan affects thin-seam mines will also prevent some of them from reopening.
“Our coal miners and their families have suffered for too long and are just starting to get back on their feet, and I’m not going to vote for a plan that pulls the rug back out from underneath them,” Delegate Kessinger said.
As an assistant majority whip, Delegate Kessinger said she knows the House Republican caucus is strongly opposed to the plan the Governor is pushing with the state Senate. She said if the Governor tries to push that plan down the House’s throat during a special session, it will fail and serve to do nothing but waste taxpayer money to cover the cost of the special session needed to vote it down.
“Governor Justice needs to accept the reality that the Republican majority of the House of Delegates stands strongly against this plan,” Delegate Kessinger said. “Instead of turning a deaf ear to our concerns, and the concerns of our coal miners and constituents, he needs to drop his childish stubbornness and work with us to find a solution that actually stands a chance of passing and doesn’t hurt our citizens.
“Sadly, I believe Governor Justice is simply tone deaf to the real concerns of the people of this state, who cannot afford to stay at posh resorts and hang out with celebrities,” Delegate Kessinger said. “Like Captain Ahab, he’s on a quest for a great white whale’s worth of tax increases – a quest that will only serve to harm our state. Our people are struggling, our economy is sluggish. This Legislature presented a budget that recognizes those problems and doesn’t exacerbate them. I strongly urge Governor Justice to reconsider his Captain Ahab-like desire to chase tax increases, and work with us to approve a budget that our people can afford.”