POLYNERVOUSTICKS AND THE MOUNTAIN STATE - The Comp Deal, West Virginia Debt And Gray Machines Get Darker

(04/17/2001)

By Bob Weaver

SUIT FILED OVER WORKERS COMP PAYMENTS - "We believe we have evidence that Viewig was in violation of his duty to the businesses and people of West Virginia," according to ACT labor lawyer Vince Trivelli. The union coal companies might still be held accountable for more than $400 million dollars they have refused to pay to the West Virginia workers compensation premiums. The Underwood administration sought to dismiss the coal companies from their obligations. The issue centers on the companies sub-contracting for work, claiming they do not have to pay the fees.

THE WEST VIRGINIA DEBT - So much for the conservative touch, although state government is run by well entrenched Democrats. During Governor Cecil Underwood's administration the state debt per person rose from $134 for every West Virginian in 1996 to $425 for every man, woman and child as he left office. By the year 2002 the per capita debt will have risen to $783, according to Treasurer John Perdue.

THE GRAY MACHINES GET DARKER - The West Virginia Legislature has been obsessed with the legalization of the so-called gray poker machines that have languished comfortably but illegally, 12,000 in all, around the mountain state. Since Governor Wise decided to pull them in, generate revenue and make them legal, the fracas has been on. Enough vested interests here for an olympic cat fight.

Of course the whole deal was to help the kids of West Virginia, those who cannot afford the costs of going to college. Well, we need to pretty well forget that. Everyone and his brother is in on the deal. Pay raises for correction officers, policemen, teachers and elected officials and those behind-the-doors business interests who must be mightily upset because their machines have been reeled in.

It is, I'm sorry to say, a disgraceful display of maddening power and useless energy down in Charleston. Insiders have reported this session "takes the cake" for uselessness. But we do keep putting these good ole boys, particularly the weasels from southern West Virginia, back in office. They are the brokers and we are stuck with them because the outraged no longer go to the polls.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
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