Justice considering recalling lawmakers this year

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — Gov. Jim Justice said Thursday that he’s considering recalling the West Virginia Legislature this year to again consider exempting veterans’ pensions from state income taxes and adding a 5 percent surcharge to highway contracts to fund addiction treatment.

Courtesy: Office of the Governor

“I’m going to look really, really hard about calling them back in soon,” Justice said.

He told The Associated Press that both measures are “no brainers” and that contractors were in agreement on the 5 percent fee on successful highway project bidders. That would have provided almost $150 million for treatment facilities, social workers and law enforcement to address West Virginia’s drug epidemic, he said.

“We have got a tremendous drug problem that we need to fix,” he said.

According to the governor, the tax exemption for veterans’ retirement income would cost about $3 million. “We just walked away from our vets,” he said.

Both measures were considered by the Legislature earlier this year but weren’t finally enacted as the governor and lawmakers pushed their respective tax and budget proposals.