CHARLESTON – Governor Jim Justice vetoed the last minute Budget passed in the late night hours of the last day of the 2017 Legislative Session. The budget had plenty of issues, including many draconian cuts. Delegate Justin Marcum said over $46 million dollars in cuts to DHHR were irresponsible and could hurt the IDD-Waiver Program, seniors, and possibly 300 jobs, even some locally. “I voted against the budget because it was only presented to the full House at 11:30 pm on the last night of the Session and it included too many cuts that would harm too many people,” stated Delegate Marcum. “I could not, in good conscious, vote for this irresponsible Budget that was thrown together by the majority at the last minute as a political ploy. The House Leadership should be ashamed of themselves,” added Marcum.
The proposed budget took nearly $150 million dollars from the Medicaid program. This cut was not in response to any waste, fraud, or abuse but was a one time cut, according to Marcum. “Draconian cuts to Medicaid like this just kick the can down the road and do nothing to help the seniors, veterans, and others who use this important program,” stated Marcum. He added that these types of cuts harm the middle class and lower class of the State while protecting the upper classes.
Other cuts included nearly $30 million dollars from the colleges of the State. Important for the local area is Southern WV Community and Technical College who would lose nearly $400,000.00 from their budget. Marcum was “frustrated” and stated he did not vote for these cuts and supports the Governors veto of the state budget for these and many other reasons.
Other cuts in the budget were one million dollars from public broadcasting, $159,000 from the women’s commission, three million dollars in eliminating the youth tobacco cessation program, and many other cuts. Marcum said the budget also included a 4 percent cut to all State programs.
One major funding source in the vetoed-Budget was taking $90 million dollars from the Rainy Day Fund which could be devastating to the State as a whole. This one time dip into this fund, according to Marcum, “would take the plan under the 15 Percent threshold which would lower the bond ratings and cause a major financial crisis in the near future.” Justin Marcum added that this was “scary and could ruin our State’s finances if we lose our bond rating.”
Delegate Justin Marcum said he was against the budget and supported the veto for the above mention reasons and because it does nothing for the future. “This budget does nothing to bring jobs to the State, does nothing to fix our roads, does nothing to make West Virginia better,” stated the enthusiastic Delegate. “We must get back to work, make the hard decisions, and not just kick the can down the road,” stated Marcum.
The vetoed-Budget also failed to include any raises for teachers and cut public education. Marcum said he was appalled and “would never vote against teachers and education. I am all for teachers and our education system and will always fight for them”, stated Marcum. “The majority’s budget did nothing for our teachers and that’s why I was against it.”
Marcum said he has always supported a balanced budget but one thrown together for political purposes by the majority made him voted against this one and support its veto. “I have always voted for the Budget but this one was terrible and did nothing to put our State on a path to prosperity,” stated Marcum. “We must work on the future and fight for jobs.”
Delegate Marcum said he supports a limited Special Session to save the taxpayers money. He also said he would be donating his legislative pay back to the State during the Special Session. No time frame has been announced yet as to the meeting of the legislature for the Budget that Governor Justice vetoed on April 13th. Marcum said he is ready to get to work on this important issue and hopes the majority will work with him on bringing jobs to the State and fixing the roads. “We are at a crossroads and must not pass a budget full of cuts to vital services like we were presented. I am glad to Governor vetoed the budget,” stated Delegate Marcum. All southern West Virginia Delegates voted against the budget with the one exception of Rupie Phillips (I-Logan).
Delegate Justin Marcum is proud to represent the 20th District. He is dedicated to jobs, roads, seniors, education, and the future.