Politicians lie. That’s not news. But one big reason some of them lie is because they think we can’t handle the truth. Especially if the truth might affect our pocketbooks or their chances of getting elected or re-elected.
Jim Justice likes to say he is not a politician, but he lies like the worst of them. He says he wants to fix West Virginia’s roads, and previous administrations and legislatures have been afraid to raise taxes needed to maintain them. Our gas taxes are high compared to most states, and none of us wants to pay more for gas, but we know that our mountains make building and maintaining roads more expensive than in flat country. And not only have our elected leaders failed to keep gas tax levels at rates high enough to maintain our roads, they have cut taxes for industries that are often the ones contributing to the terrible state of our roads.
Justice made his $2 billion “Road to Prosperity” road bond pitch for our votes by promising new roads and bridges to stimulate economic growth. Now, in a classic “bait and switch,” he plans to “skinny down” those projects and take half the money to fix potholes. We’re going to be paying interest on these road bonds for decades, and he wants to fix potholes and repave roads that are going to need redoing in 5 or 10 years! How will we pay for it then? Meanwhile, he and his buddies cut taxes on coal production (do you think coal trucks might create a few potholes?) and keep severance taxes on natural gas low (have you driven in Doddridge County recently where drilling rigs are tearing up roads and terrorizing residents?).
Jim Justice thinks he can buy our votes in 2020 by fixing potholes at the expense of our children and grandchildren who will have to pay back his debts.
Tell the truth, Jim: you just don’t want to raise taxes on your rich out-of-state buddies, who extract coal and gas and spend the profits on yachts and mansions. After all, they don’t have to drive on our roads!