As part of their “Saving Senator Ryan” strategy, the Wheeling News-Register today published an op-ed by our local state senator, Republican Majority Leader Ryan Ferns. In the piece, Ferns explained how the legislature could have done so much if it hadn’t been for teacher raises:
While I know we were all thrilled to be able to provide these pay raises, it’s worth mentioning the things that we had to sacrifice this year to see those come to fruition. We had to make cuts to Medicaid. (Fortunately for those who rely on these services, we were able to cover those cuts with cash reserves and transfers of Lottery surplus funds.)
(So you didn’t have to make cuts to Medicaid but it’s still nice to blame teachers.)
We had to shelve a plan that would have provided free community and technical college to West Virginians.
(Yes, of course, because Republicans are known for their support for free post-secondary education. Teachers sure are a great scapegoat!)
Our goal of full civil justice reform had to take a back seat for another year when we couldn’t advance our plan for an Intermediate Court of Appeals. And, lastly, a constitutional amendment that would have repealed West Virginia’s burdensome, job-killing business inventory and equipment tax had to come off the table.
(What does either of these two pieces of legislation have to do with teacher pay increases?)
I'm sure that this won't be the last op-ed from Senator Ryan we'll see. The legislature is no longer in session but that doesn't mean the local "newspapers" won't be trying to save his seat.