It’s time for ego and theatrics to go away

Well, the West Virginia Legislature’s regular session is complete, but the work is nowhere near finished.

Gov. Jim Justice extended the session by a single day — yes, one day — in order to put together a budget bill. Now, putting together a budget for a small family isn’t always easy, so one could expect finalizing a budget of several billion dollars to operate a state would be no small task. I doubt anyone actually expected an agreeable budget bill to be completed with that extra day.

Even after the bill was passed early last Sunday morning, there were several legislators who noted some calculations still were needed. Without those figures, the full extent of finalized legislation wouldn’t be known, nor would their impact on next fiscal year’s budget.

So, more time definitely was needed. A special session would have to be called at some point.

Then, late last week, the governor called a press conference to announce his plans to veto the budget. But, he couldn’t leave it at that. He had to put his own little flourish by bringing out a tray containing a copy of the budget bill and a pile of bovine fecal material.

Anyone who followed even a little bit of the action of this year’s legislative session knew it was going to be a tough battle over the budget.

Each side wanted something different, and there appeared to be very little give and take from either party.

The governor pulled out a few theatrical tricks, such as turning on the emergency beacon at the top of the Capitol complex, and bringing out the aforementioned bull-stuff.

Some legislators took their shots through social media, with criticisms and name calling taking place frequently.

West Virginia is facing some major obstacles in the future. We already are fighting deficit after deficit, and it appears to be on a path to only get worse.

This is not a time for theatrics, name calling or stubborn attitudes because of partisan bickering.

We are not in a position for those elected to lead this state to take a “my way, or the highway” stance. There needs to be cooperation, and it needs to truly be about benefiting the state, not just the political party.

This is a problem on both sides of the aisle, just so people don’t think I’m picking favorites here.

That’s always been my issue with politics. Just because a particular party has the majority of a group, that doesn’t mean they should make all the rules. They can’t have it entirely their way. Eventually, the other party is going to be in the majority, and they are going to try to reverse it all, and then chaos takes over.

There needs to be give and take.

Some in the Legislature have said meetings have begun in the last couple of days to start planning for a special session.

That session needs to take place sooner, rather than later, and it needs to involve all parties being willing to come to the table and actually look at all options with open eyes.

This cannot be about Democrats and Republicans. It cannot be only one method.

This is about West Virginia. This is about our home, our neighbors, our families, our friends.

This is about making sure the Mountain State has a viable future, and not just scoring points with a particular voting base.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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