Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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BeyondMU: Justice Delivers Final State of the State Address

Matthew+Schaffer
The Parthenon
Matthew Schaffer

West Virginia Governor and Senate-hopeful Jim Justice delivered his eighth and final State of the State address highlighting his legacy and proposals for next year’s budget on Wednesday, Jan. 10.

Throughout his speech, Justice underscored the state’s economic, tourism and infrastructure developments during his two term. He also proposed additional pay raises for the state’s employees, further cuts to personal income taxes, eliminating social security taxes, as well as a childcare tax credit and school funding to the state legislature.

“I don’t want to sound braggadocious about anything, but my administration does not believe in growing government,” he said. “We use earnings to absolutely make choices to do projects to grow this state.”

After announcing his campaign last April for the vacant Senate seat that will be left by Joe Manchin in 2024, the governor spent time focusing on several accomplishments achieved during his time in his role.

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Justice spoke on the 12,591 jobs created since 2017 and announced six additional businesses that will come to or expand throughout West Virginia. In addition, Justice talked on overseeing the multiple tax cuts—having made 23 cuts throughout his terms—before proposing a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the elimination of Social Security taxes.

“Twenty-three different times and delivered on the biggest tax cut, the biggest tax cut in state history, hands down,” Justice said. “I would tell you just this: the faster that we can get rid of the taxes on the individuals, the better we’ll be.” 

He went on to propose $3 million for crisis pregnancy centers, $20 million for senior centers, $15 million for state parks and an additional $10 million for emergency services, as well as an additional $100 million for state healthcare. 

He then described steps made in nurse retention.

“We had 810 new nursing students enrolled in the first year,” Justice said. “I am proposing that we add $30 million to this great program and continue the funding.” 

Justice also proposed his fifth 5% pay raise to teachers and state employees.

However, Justice mentioned little with regards to additional education funding beyond further funding for charter schools, student retention programs, nursing and technical training programs. 

Justice also announced the addition of an agricultural center at West Virginia State University. However, he did not address West Virginia University’s financial difficulties that have resulted in several cuts to majors and faculty at the university last year.

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