A new House Committee has been created that is charged with making West Virginia appear more appealing to business and investment, including foreign. The new committee is already proposing large tax credits for new businesses as well as rail roads that could promise to improve existing infrastructure and service new industries.
In a series of leaked memos, the bipartisan committee has received feedback from numerous investors that suggest one of their first acts should be to remove the late, great, Senator Robert C Byrd's name from over 30 bridges, highways, parking garages, schools, etc., dedicated in his honor. What they are hearing -- and slowly admitting -- is Senator Byrd's moniker of "The King of Pork" leads many to believe West Virginia is incapable of succeeding without federal handouts. That reputation does little to bolster a business-friendly reputation.
Senator Byrd once famously retorted, "They call me 'The Pork King,' they don't know how much I enjoy it." Once on the Appropriations Committe, Byrd set a goal to secure $1 Billion for public works. A goal he surpassed. A hint that it was all becoming excessive was when Byrd proudly called himself, "Big Daddy" the day the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnolgy Science Center was dedicated.
Adding to their decision are reports such as the recent "What's Wrong With That State" AAA study that indicated many Americans traveling through the Mountain State feel that Robert C. Byrd's name on so many building and roads is "tacky" and "crass", especially as it was federal taxpayer money that payed for the structures.
Speaking off-the-record committee member, Senator Mike Lucas, told us, "While Senator Byrd's legacy cannot be understated ...perhaps it's time to state it less. We want to portray West Virginia as a 'Can Do' state, whereas the pork legacy makes people think West Virginia can't -- at least without handouts."
When asked about the proposed changes, Senator Joe Manchin replied "Obviously, part of a Senator's job is to raise as many taxes as possible, then direct as much of that money back to their state. In that, Byrd set the standard. However, I can certainly understand their wanting to remove his name from public buildings. I mean, it leaves nothing to be named after me; after all, I have served as Governor and Senator. Maybe it's time for a clean slate, so West Virginia has room for my name."
Asked if he thought Governor Earl Ray Tomlin might someday earn a similar honor, Manchin chuckled, "Sure! I can see it now, the Earl Ray Tomblin ...Greyhound Dog Track".