CHARLESTON, West Virginia – Governor Jim Justice today issued the following statement after minority leaders of the West Virginia Legislature sent a joint letter, calling on the Governor to suspend the state tax of 37.5 cents per gallon on gasoline :

“I would absolutely love to suspend this tax and provide at least a little relief to the hard-working people of West Virginia who are paying the price for runaway inflation and soaring energy prices. However, I don’t cannot legally suspend this tax, only our legislature can.

“The Democrats absolutely know that I don’t have that authority, so I guess what they’re really asking me to do is call a special session and ask the Legislature to suspend the tax on the The Legislature just adjourned for 60 days a few days ago, why didn’t the Democrats introduce a bill then Gas prices were just as high last week than they are now. The answer is that it’s nothing more than a political stunt, designed to get their names in the headlines and make me look like the bad guy. They probably thought that I wouldn’t call them for supposedly opposing me in lowering the cost of gas. They were wrong. I would absolutely support the temporary suspension of the state gas tax if such was the wish of the Legislative Assembly.

“I think it’s despicable that these Democratic politicians – whose mothership in Washington DC got us into this mess, putting us on the brink of World War III – are now rushing to climb onto the biggest soapbox they can find to flap their arms around and say, ‘Look what I’m doing to help you.’ This is the same political party that has been throwing dirt at our fossil fuels at every turn. And now, all of a sudden, they’re worried about the financial strain of rapidly rising energy costs on our families? They must be nervous that gas prices are so high in a midterm election year.

“Where were those same Democrats when I submitted a plan that would have seized a unique opportunity to transform West Virginia’s tax structure by repealing our personal income tax; raising our severance tax; raising wages, increase home values, attract more business, more people, and improve the lives of all West Virginians? They were sitting on the sidelines saying, “Now is not the time. But now that it’s politically convenient for them, they suddenly want to cut taxes so badly that they want me to break the law to do it.

“Where were those same Democrats when I gave a very important speech last Friday on America’s energy independence? I laid out the plan for exactly how we can tap into West Virginia’s rich natural resources to save the world, while remaining united with God and the people of Ukraine.

“Finally, where were those same Democrats in December when I proposed Inflatocin, a one-time 2.5% bonus to fight the rising costs of inflation?

“Keep in mind that 100% of our gas tax goes directly to our state’s Department of Transportation for building and maintaining our roads. Thanks to my Roads to Prosperity program and our renewed focus on secondary roads, we have broken the all-time road maintenance record three years in a row. Our roads and bridges have been left in the state they were in due to decades of underinvestment. But now, thanks to the mechanisms we have put in place, we have made miraculous progress in fixing our roads once and for all.

“Let’s be frank and honest: the people of West Virginia know only too well that under the previous administration in Washington DC, America and West Virginia were finally reaping the rewards of energy independence. Our coal miners were back to work, gas prices were at historic lows, and the US economy was hitting new heights.

“Anyway, runaway gas prices will not be fixed by us giving tax relief for a month. Gas prices are up nearly 60% since this time last year thanks to the Biden administration’s determination to reverse America’s energy independence. I’ve said it a thousand times, the only real solution here is to tap into the rich natural resources we have in this state and this nation to make America energy independent again.