It seems there are conflicts here
To the Editor,
Schools in West Virginia are on strike are standing up against corruption in our state. Please see this link about Lissa Lucas being pulled of the legislative floor for calling out politicians who are being bought off by big oil and gas (www.newsweek.com/west-virginia-political-donations-fracking-gas-companies-802822.)
It seems to me that, if we are going to have these big businesses here making billions of dollars off of our natural resources, these businesses should be taxed to help all of our general public. There is absolutely no reason any West Virginians should living in poverty with the resources we have here.
One of the things that school personnel want fixed is the PEIA insurance. Please remember, only between 10 percent and 20 percent of the people on the PEIA insurance system are school personnel — the other 80 percent to 90 percent of public employees on PEIA include our DOH workers, DHHR workers, corrections workers and our state troopers, just to mention a few.
There are a couple pieces of legislation that could help our public employees by increasing the oil and gas severance tax in West Virginia to help raise revenue. Many politicians say if we raise oil and gas severance taxes the businesses will leave. I believe that is false. Please check this chart about the state by state comparisons on oil and gas severance taxes: knowledgecenter.csg.org/kc/system/files/7.15%202016.pdf.
Please note, Alaska and Texas are big oil producing states, and they have higher severance taxes than West Virginia and the companies are still there. Proposed legislation being considered to help increase oil and gas severance taxes will be included in Senate Bill 486 and House Bill 4341.
Here is the link for contacts for our Legislature. E-mail or call them to pass those bills: www.wvlegislature.gov/House/roster.cfm; www.wvlegislature.gov/Senate1/roster.cfm
There is proposed legislation that was initiated by Gov. Jim Justice to remove the business and inventory tax, which would cut revenue $150 million. Here’s the link: wvpolicy.org/business–tax–cut–helps–out–of–state–corporations–not–wv
Now, that seems ridiculous to me that Justice would initiate that legislation to cut taxes $15 million if we don’t have enough money to take care of things properly now..
One more important bill is House Bill 4268, which is a bill that the politicians are trying to tie to the public employees being financially taken care of. House Bill 4268 is a bill that benefits oil and gas companies. It is a “forced pulling” bill which basically strips property rights from individuals and lets the big oil and gas companies go under the individual property owner’s property and pull oil or gas out from under them without any benefits to the individuals.
If you wonder why politicians may be promoting some of these bills and blocking some of these bills I mentioned above, view the information again that I included above about Lissa Lucas being pulled from the legislative floor for calling out all the politicians, who are pocketing of money from their oil and gas contributors. It seems that there are conflicts of interest going on here.