CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, issued the following statement after Gov. Jim Justice announced he intends to call the Legislature back into session Thursday, May 4, to push his tax-increase plans.
“I’m saddened that the Governor continues to refuse to acknowledge the reality that his current plan still does not have the support of the majority of the House of Delegates,” Speaker Armstead said.
“We have repeatedly tried to get the Governor to work with us on a realistic framework that could garner the support of the House of Delegates, but the Governor has repeatedly shut the door in our face,” Speaker Armstead said. “Until he begins to accept reality, we will get nowhere in this budget debate, resulting in a prolonged special session that could have been avoided had the Governor been willing to work with the House. I believe most West Virginians are wondering why the Governor would call a special session without an agreed plan, and after closing the House majority – the members elected by the people – out of the process.
“The Governor was presented with a budget that would have avoided the special session,” Speaker Armstead said. “He vetoed that budget and continues to misrepresent to the people what that budget contained. That budget contained NO cuts to the classroom school aid formula and the cuts to higher education amounted in most cases to less than 1 to 2 percent of each college's overall budget. The doomsday picture the Governor continues to paint about our responsible spending plan is simply not true.
“We in the House want to work with the Governor on a path forward that has an actual chance of averting a government shutdown on July 1, but he has so far refused to even speak with us,” Speaker Armstead said. “So long as he continues to turn a deaf ear to the concerns of the House Republicans and the citizens we represent, Governor Justice will continue to hold the padlock to shut this government down on July 1.
“I sincerely want to avoid a shutdown and the calamity it will create, and I hope the Governor will begin to work with us on a realistic way to avoid that,” Speaker Armstead said.