Forty-eighth in job creation, 50th in median household income, 49th in K-12 achievement--all statistics House Minority Leader Tim Armstead said his party is looking to improve upon this legislative session during a press conference at the Capitol Tuesday.
This year, the Republican caucus is focused on growing the state’s economy through tax reform, setting priorities for existing revenue sources and strengthening education.
“They need to focus on putting people back to work,” Armstead said of the Democratic leadership in his chamber.
“There are basic building blocks to put people back to work. One of those is a fair tax system.”
Specifically, Armstead said his party will introduce legislation to cut the tax businesses pay on their equipment and inventory. He added that tax is putting West Virginia at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting new industry.
Another economic initiative the party plans to take up is creating jobs impact statements to accompany some pieces of introduced legislation.
“So many times in this body, we enact legislation and then we find out a year or two down the road it had an unintended consequence. It put people out of work. It made it harder for people to get jobs in West Virginia,” Armstead said. “We don’t want that to happen.
“We think its important that when we do bring a piece of legislation in front of the House that be have people who are economic experts look at those pieces of legislation and say, here is what I see as the projection of what that will do for the economy of West Virginia, here is what that will do for job creation.”
When it comes to education, Armstead said his party plans to do more to return control to the local level and give parents more options when it comes to making education choices for their children.
Armstead added the party will continue to oppose Obamacare and try to find solutions for the state under the Affordable Care Act, fight the federal government on restrictions to both the coal and natural gas industries, and support efforts to investigate the regulations of abortions in West Virginia.