Help Public Employees, Not Big Businesses

Editor, News-Register:

School personnel in West Virginia on strike are working on a bigger picture than is often being portrayed to the public. We are standing up against corruption that is going on 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/gas (

In West Virginia, we are sitting on more natural resources than Saudi Arabia. It seems to me that, if we are going to have these big businesses here making billions of dollars off of our resources, these businesses should be taxed to help all of our public employees and 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 about 10-20 percent of the people on the PEIA insurance system are school personnel, the other 80-90 percent of the public employees on PEIA include our DOH workers, DHHR workers, WV corrections workers, and our WV 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:

Please note, Alaska and Texas are big oil producing states, they have higher severance taxes than West Virginia, and the companies are still there.

There is currently some proposed legislation being considered to help increase oil and gas severance taxes in West Virginia to include West Virginia Senate Bill 486 and House Bill 4341. Please contact our West Virginia Legislature to urge them get those two bills passesd in a timely manner.

Here are the links for contacts for our West Virginia Legislature. Please take time to email or call them.

Furthermore, there is proposed legislation that was initiated by Gov. Jim Justice to remove the business and inventory tax which would cut revenue $150 million dollars. Here is a link about that:

Now, that seems ridiculous to me that Gov. Jim Justice would initiate that legislation to cut taxes if we don’t have enough money to take care of things properly as it is. Again, our politicians are putting big business ahead of the public.

And one more important legislative bill that I want to mention 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 again that benefits oil and gas companies. It is a “forced pooling” 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 and 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, please 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 lots and lots of money from their oil and gas contributors. It seems that there are many conflicts of interest going on here.

Thank you for your time in reading this, and thank you in advance for taking time to contact your West Virginia Legislature today to help school personnel and all public employees.

Erin Bowers