Friday, March 11, 2011

"I'm not touching you!"

So, what do West Virginia politicians and children have in common? Everything. Sounds like a joke, doesn't it? The fact is West Virginia's state government feels like a joke lately.

The most recent example took place within the House of Delegates yesterday, when Delegate Ron Walters (R - Kanawha) deployed a seldom used tactic. He requested a full reading of all the bills to be considered that day. This slowed down the daily agenda, as the readings droned on throughout most of the day.

What was Walters' motive in boring everyone to death? What major bill was he trying to keep from hitting the floor? He was unhappy about a reduction in the sales tax on food being reduced by 1%. The House Speaker, Rick Thompson (D - Wayne), had previously ruled no more amendments could be made on the food tax bill.

The measure enacted by Walters is similar to that of a child who has been told not to hit his sibling and then proceeds to point a finger in their face, taunting them with "I'm not touching you!"

With all the problems we have in West Virginia, the legislative process comes to near standstill over a reduction in the food tax that probably isn't going to help people all that much. Will this measure somehow magically draw in business that's stayed away for years?

Have we forgotten the ongoing meth problem? What about our new designation as "pillbillies"?

I thought we were focusing on education.

Have we also forgotten the deplorable conditions in which some people live? Portions of our population live in places reminiscent of a Third World country -- dirt floors, no indoor plumbing, or electricity.

What about the stagnant economy? More investigation into the Marcellus Shale energy?

All of these issues have been placed on the back burner because of a peeing contest between political parties. Republicans believed they were being treated unfairly, so they lashed out.

Not to be outdone, Speaker Rick Thompson fired back by removing Delegate Walters from his lofty position on the House Finance Committee. I would say that is more than a shot across the bow to Republicans. After all, every child retaliates, don't they?

To add to the consternation, apparently this bill was so important, Acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin had stated earlier in the week he would call the Legislature back into session if they didn't act in reducing the food sales tax. Does this seem eerily similar to a bully?

Congratulations are in order for both parties. Due to the childlike behavior that has become pervasive in the lawmaking process, the entire state suffers. Instead of cooperating like good little boys and girls, you have neglected your chores.

But don't be too angry West Virginians, the legislature had a whole host of other significant bills to be heard this session, like the resolution to continue the Marshall - WVU football series. And changing of how we award our Electoral College votes.

Can we please do something productive? Or to translate into children's terms -- are we there yet?

Location:Pryor Ln,East Bank,United States

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