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More dependence or greater strength?

EVERYBODY understands that after a scathing audit of West Virginia's public schools, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin would focus on education in the current legislative session.

It's understandable that with some of the state's racinos in trouble because of competition from other states, the Legislature would focus on the economic health of its business partners.

But Republicans in the House of Delegates correctly point out that the focus of the Democratic majority has overshadowed equally pressing issues.

The majority party has focused on issues such as

lowering the prison population, seat belts, free meals for children who are able to pay,  and more.

But not on economic growth.

House Minority Leader Tim Armstead, R-Kanawha, points out that West Virginia lost 18,900 manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2007. More than 59,000 people remain unemployed.

Despite gradual reductions in some business taxes, the state remains at a disadvantage because of its property tax on business equipment. The majority has refused to change a legal posture that makes investors see West Virginia as hostile territory.

These are simply not priorities for the majority.

Democrats are focused on creating programs to relieve the poverty in which West Virginia has specialized for so long.

Republicans think wealth creation would help West Virginians more.

They contend that the most powerful antidote to poverty is policies that speed job creation. Joblessness is the root cause of West Virginia's poverty, outmigration, hopelessness, drug addiction and crime.

Republicans would no more let hungry children go without food than Democrats would. They just think people deserve a great more than public assistance - a chance to thrive.

There is some evidence that increasing numbers of West Virginians agree.

There are 11 more Republicans in the House now than there were in 2012, and the next election is next year.

West Virginians sent 11 more Republicans to the House last fall, perhaps for a reason.


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