Randy Yohe Published

Justice Lays Out Achievements, Wish List In Final State Of The State

Gray haired man sits at a podium with two more men out of focus behind him.
Gov. Jim Justice delivering his eighth and final State of the State Adress to a joint session of the West Virginia Legislature.
Perry Bennett/WV Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice’s final state of the state address Wednesday night highlighted the homespun phrases he’s known for, and millions of state surplus dollars proposed for a variety of projects.  

He reminded all assembled for a joint session of the legislature what his dad said, and Justice often quotes: “Don’t confuse effort with accomplishment and there’s always something you can do.” 

I believe that if you give it to God above and you give your best and you give your best like nobody’s business,” he said. “Good things will happen.”

Justice touted his efforts to provide school choice, to enhance tourism and embrace diversifying the economy, adding his usual caveat of never forgetting fossil fuels.

“For those crazies that are out there in Lala Land that believe you can do it all with the fuels today,” Justice said. “Go back to your crazy you know, to be perfectly honest, I don’t want to starve to death in the dark.”

On the heels of the personal income tax cuts passed by the legislature last session, Justice proposed eliminating social security taxes on everyone and instituting a Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit 

“Where folks that are struggling with daycare can at least write them off your taxes against your revenue,” he said. “We need this and we need this very badly and we need it right now.”

Justice proposed $50 million for a state-of-the-art agricultural lab at West Virginia State University. He also proposed $3 million for crisis pregnancy centers, $20 million for senior centers, $5 million for charter school growth, $150 million for the School Building Authority and $100 million to bolster West Virginia hospitals.

“This will help a lot of folks in our West Virginia hospitals all across our land,” he said.    

Justice pointed to an end of the two-year state of emergency in the state Corrections system, with more than 350 National Guard members continuing to work in state jails and prisons.

“We are effective as we speak, downsizing the National Guard in our facilities,” Justice said. “And it is my hope beyond belief that by the end of the summer, the National Guard will be out of our facilities.”

A high school girls basketball coach for decades, Justice asked lawmakers to rethink the high school transfer rules passed during last year’s session that he said were creating lopsided scores and an uneven playing field.

“If we don’t watch out, we’re going to ruin, and I said ruin, high school sports in West Virginia,” he said. “This is going to really hurt us. I don’t know exactly what the right solution is. But I’m telling you there are some dadgum smart people in this room. And today I am absolutely pleading with you to figure it out.”

As Justice finished his address, Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, a Republican from Clay Country introduced House Bill 4025, the governor’s proposed budget appropriation for fiscal year 2025.