The Times West Virginian

Opinion

October 17, 2012

Tomblin shows leadership, vision to earn full term as state’s governor

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin — after winning primary and general elections in 2011 — had the word “acting” removed from his title.

Now — facing Republican Bill Maloney, the same opponent he narrowly defeated in last year’s general election — Tomblin is hoping to win a full four-year term.

We believe West Virginia voters should give him that opportunity.

Tomblin, a Democrat first elected to the House of Delegates from Logan County in 1974, has certainly earned their confidence.

He, as the state Senate president, came to the governor’s office in 2010 when Joe Manchin was elected to fill the U.S. Senate seat that became open following the death of Robert C. Byrd.

Under Tomblin’s leadership, West Virginia continued down the path of getting its fiscal matters in order.

State pension system have been modernized, and the workers’ compensation system has been privatized.

In the past year, a pay-out plan for Other Post Employee Benefits — about a $10 billion liability that the taxpayers were facing — was enacted in a bipartisan fashion.

“We’re being fiscally responsible,” Tomblin said. “We’re lowering taxes, and we’re making West Virginia a more attractive place to do business.”

Tomblin may receive an A+ grade for managing the state finances, which many consider his crowning achievement while in the governor’s office.

“Starting Jan. 1, 2012, we started our lowering of our corporate net income tax, so we will be competitive will all of our surrounding states,” Tomblin said. “We started the phase out of our business franchise tax, which will be completely eliminated in 2015. Obviously, we’ve brought our sales tax on food from 6 percent to this past year, we’re down to 1 percent right now. By July 1, 2015, that tax will be completely gone.”

Corporations have invested almost $5 billion in new plants or expansions, fostering about 5,500 good jobs during Tomblin nearly two years as governor.

 He also built a consensus for reasonable regulations on natural gas drilling, led the way on bipartisan legislation to protect miners, vetoed increases in DMV fees, pushed for lower taxes and promoted West Virginia nationally and abroad.

Tomblin strongly backs coal and has received the backing of the West Virginia Coal Association, the state Chamber of Commerce and the United Mine Workers of America.

He also is planning legislation for the 2013 session to address concerns outlined in the recent audit of the state's school system.

With 36 years of legislative experience, few in Charleston know the workings of state government better than Tomblin. Add the experience gained in just under two years in the governor’s office.

Tomblin’s strong leadership, as well as Manchin’s, helped the state to weather the worst recession our nation has faced in nearly a century.

“I’m very proud that we have made some major changes in our state, that we do not do business like we did in the 1970s or 1980s — spending more money than we’re taking in, making obligations on the taxpayers that we could not afford to,” Tomblin said.

Tomblin has shown the leadership and vision necessary to run the state. We think he can do an equally good job to lead West Virginia over the upcoming four-year term.

We fully endorse Tomblin in the 2012 election for West Virginia governor.

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