From the governor’s desk: A weekly column by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
January 23, 2013
Throughout my years in public service, I’ve worked hard to create a brighter future for West Virginia, and I’ve approached every decision, every challenge, and every opportunity with one goal - West Virginia First.
As your governor, I will continue to work hard for the families of this state. I understand the importance of good-paying jobs that keep food on the table and a roof overhead - the significance of safety in our communities and workplaces - and I know the value of putting money back into the pockets of West Virginia families and businesses.
I’ve said time and again, I’ll go anywhere, do anything, and leave no stone unturned to bring jobs to West Virginia. I’ve met with company leaders across the country and I have traveled as far away as Japan to encourage business investment in our great state. I’m proud to say we have secured billions in new business investments and thousands of new jobs - all of this a testament to our world-class workforce and positive business climate.
My administration has worked hard to create a productive business climate with a series of pro-growth tax reforms. While other states are raising taxes, we are reducing them. We are in the process of phasing out the business franchise tax and the food tax will soon be history. By reducing the tax burden, we’ve put more than $92 million back in taxpayers’ pockets in just two years - all while maintaining good fiscal responsibility.
Today, West Virginia’s finances are strong. We’ve developed a plan to address long-term unfunded liabilities, our rainy day funds are some of the most robust in the nation, and our credit rating is the best it has been in decades. I truly believe our forward thinking has positioned us well.
Looking to the future, I want to make sure we make the most of the opportunities before us, whether it’s investing in the education of our young people, the development of the infrastructure needed to make natural gas-fueled vehicles a reality or making travel on our highways safer and more affordable.
Making our communities safer has always been one of my top priorities. Through new legislation, I’ve made it a crime to text while driving, signed landmark mine-safety legislation, and helped crack down on West Virginia’s growing plague of drug abuse.
Together, we’ve worked hard to achieve success. And together, we will work through new challenges. I will always put West Virginia First so our families and seniors can continue to enjoy a quality of life only found in West Virginia and so our business partners can see firsthand what we already know to be true - our state is a great place to do business. Please know I am extremely grateful for your support and I look forward to working together to move West Virginia forward.