Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va., on Wednesday accused Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., of using his position to launch personal attacks through his actions concerning the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that limits using federal funding to offset the losses that will come for changes legislated for state tax revenues.
"Joe wants to be in control of too many things," Justice said of Manchin during an interview on CNN. "I know Joe very, very well.
"Joe was unhappy with some things that I did right off the get-go in my administration on the first go-round. He has absolutely tried in every way in the world to defeat me in the last election, and I won every single county in the state of West Virginia, and all this is just a hit back."
Earlier this week, Justice, while giving his virtual COVID-19 briefing from the state Capitol Building in Charleston, W.Va., blamed Manchin for the provision that limits use of relief dollars to offset state revenue, reports The Intelligencer in Wheeling, W.Va.
"This is terrible, this is absolutely terrible," Justice said Monday. "What was written into the law was written in there primarily by Joe Manchin. (He) has absolutely bent back double triple to hit at me for some reason. What he is doing is hurting West Virginia. It’s just a slap at West Virginians."
Wednesday on CNN, Justice said Manchin's actions are "childishness" and that Manchin "needs to grow up and get (past that)" as he is hurting his own people."
"That's just all there is to it," Justice said. "The only reason that this language is in there about, you know, you can't do this and that in regard to getting rid of taxes is Joe Manchin. And with all that, I just do not condone it, I do not go along with it.
"At the end of the day, all this is going to do is hurt West Virginians. I don't think he ought to be doing that."
Manchin's office, after Justice's slams earlier this week, said in a statement the senator welcomes the opportunity to speak with the governor about the "best possible ways to improve the lives of West Virginians with the more than $2 billion in federal funding that I secured for our state in this bill."
Justice's tax reform legislation, which has not yet been formally introduced to the state legislature, includes a 60% tax cut for one year in most personal income tax classifications and a $52 million tax rebate for families that make less than $35,000 per year, for total tax reductions of almost $1.1 billion, reports The Intelligencer.
His plan also calls for $902.6 million in increases in the consumer sales and use tax; a tiered severance tax for fossil fuels; a tax on certain luxury goods; and increased taxes on cigarettes, tobacco products, e-cigarettes, beer, wine, liquor, and soda.
Justice has also called for large federal spending in connection with COVID relief, but he doesn't think the bill should include putting money into Democrats' pet projects.
The governor on Wednesday also discussed the growing push in several states to end mask mandates and to allow all businesses to open at 100% capacity.
"I really, truly do think I'm surrounded by a medical team that's terrific, (but) from the standpoint of getting in a great big hurry, I can't stand these masks, either, and I'd love to just get rid of them," said the governor, who this week eased COVID restrictions while keeping statewide mask mandates in place.
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