Gov. Justice sightings at Capitol last week encouraging despite motives and tirades

Most of us always wished he would stop in at the office more often.

Or at least post some kind of regular office hours when to expect him in.

Last week, Gov. Jim Justice caught most of us by surprise with at least three days worth of visits to the state Capitol. Of course, each of those news conferences were either self-promoting or defensive. Not to mention used to smear his critics.

Still, despite his motives for being in Charleston most of last week, we’re encouraged that he could find the time to take the helm of state government.

Sure, it was a bit strange to be calling a news conference Aug. 6 to boast that his companies have finally made good on their back taxes.

However, that was just on his companies’ West Virginia back taxes. No mention was made of his companies’ back taxes in Kentucky and Virginia.

And this move to clear those tax debts comes years late and with no information on what he owed or what he paid. Or whether a deal was cut to resolve this issue.

Then Aug. 7, he called another news conference at the Capitol to announce that state tax collections came in $32 million above estimates.

July revenues ended the month with almost as much of a surplus as the state did for the entire past fiscal year.

Resplendent in Hawaiian leis to celebrate these numbers Justice did give some credit to his latest-adopted political party and President Trump.

But he also added, “It would be impossible to say that since I walked in this door that things haven’t started to get better and better and better … .”

Space does not allow to note the things that got better despite him or that have yet to get better. For instance, that fiscal year budget he refused to sign off on last year; the neglect of the RISE West Virginia program; the nine-day teachers’ strike; or the worsening opioid epidemic.

But we are curious whether he will wear garlic around his neck if the economy suffers a hiccup.

Then on Friday, there he was again in the Capitol defending his Roads to Prosperity program and deriding his critics.

When rising road construction costs came up, it was pointed out no one could have predicted the tariffs on imported steel last fall.

Yet, when he was asked if he would raise the side-effects of the tariffs with the president, he criticized the question and suggested Trump can do no wrong.

To the curious onlooker, the governor’s news conferences must seem a bit surreal at times. To most journalists they raise more questions than they answer.

At the end of the day, though, we’re just glad to see him on the job in Charleston.

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