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Collecting taxes owed by Jim Justice

West Virginia state government’s fiscal woes are extensive, with general revenue fund income $81.1 million below expectations for just the first three months of the fiscal year. Still, $3.7 million would come in handy in Charleston.

Billionaire businessman Jim Justice, the Democrat candidate for governor, owes the state more than that, according to a report from National Public Radio.

NPR investigators uncovered 24 tax liens filed against four of Justice’s companies by the state Tax Department. They date back to August 2012, with the most recent filed this August. The total covered by the liens is more than $3.76 million.

Justice’s companies have not paid state severance and withholding taxes as they should have, according to liens filed in Kanawha and Raleigh counties.

Of course, what is owed in West Virginia is just a fraction of the total owed in back taxes and fines for safety violations at his coal mines. Justice owes more than $15 million to six states and the federal government, according to NPR.

How the other states and Washington go about collecting the money is up to them, of course. But West Virginians — the vast majority of whom pay our taxes when they are due — have every right to wonder whether the state is doing all it can to get its money from Justice’s companies.

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