Tomblin says he'll work with GOP-controlled Legislature - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Tomblin says he'll work with GOP-controlled Legislature

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(WVVA) West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin says Democrats and Republicans must work together as "West Virginians united for the common good."

The annual State of the State Address was held Wednesday night in the House Chamber at the State Capitol Complex.

"This is West Virginia, not Washington, and we work together to meet the challenges we face as a state." says Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. 

For the first time in 83 years, the Republican Party holds the majority in the Senate at 18-16. The GOP has a 64-36 majority in the House.

Tomblin says that both parties have worked together to improve the business climate and the state's education system. He pointed to the recent elimination of the business franchise tax. "These steps continue to encourage investments in West Virginia jobs." says Tomblin.

The Governor told lawmakers that West Virginia has " one of the strongest Rainy Day Funds in the country." Tomblin's proposed 2016 budget includes a $195 million dollar gap to be filled by money from the fund.

Tomblin also spoke about the need for workers compensation reform and medical malpractice reform. 

The Marcellus Shale is bringing in billions of dollars in new investment in West Virginia, according to Tomblin. He says state leaders have "taken significant steps to ensure we remain at the center of the Marcellus and Utica shale boom."

Tomblin says that lawmakers must encourage innovation from entrepreneurs and eliminate unnecessary restrictions. He proposed "legislation to give our craft brewers increased opportunities to succeed as part of our state's growing craft beer industry."

He spoke about the success of West Virginia's system of community colleges and the need to continually train workers to success in a global, technological, marketplace.

Tomblin also urged the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its proposed plan to reduce carbon emissions at coal-fired power plants. "Federal bureaucrats must understand the impact of these new rules will have on families and communities here and across the country," says Tomblin.

The Governor also spoke about the need for juvenile judicial reform. 

Before leaving the podium, Tomblin recognized Lewisburg Police Lieutenant Jeromy Dove,Corporal Mike Arbaugh, and Patrolman Nicholas Sams. The three officers were involved in a shootout with a father and son during a traffic stop on New Year's Day. After the shootout, investigators found the bodies of a North Carolina couple in the back of a stolen vehicle driven by one of the suspects. 

Tomblin ended the address by trying to appeal to lawmakers on both sides of the isle. "Tonight we are more than just Democrats and Republicans. We are, and will forever be, West Virginians."

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