Last month, State Treasurer John Perdue announced that he “found” $20 million, and that he intended on using the money to help shore up the budget for the current fiscal year. The announcement seemed as though Perdue expected a hero’s welcome for riding into the state capitol with “free” money in hand. However, the reaction by people across the state has been anything but positive; West Virginians know that there is no such thing as “free money.”
Just last week, state Senator Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, rejected Democratic praise in the Senate for Perdue’s discovery of money that was in his office this whole time. He commented, “Something the senator from Harrison said I think fits nicely into this. He said that if it weren’t for the $20 million from the State Treasurer John Perdue, we’d be in the hole. If it wasn’t for a gift from John Perdue, we’d be in the hole. It’s not John Perdue’s money. It’s the people of this state — it is their money! …So, it wasn’t John Perdue’s money to give. It’s (the) people of the state of West Virginia, that have given this (money)to the state to operate our departments.”
Senator Weld’s statement sums up the feelings of a majority of West Virginians I have spoken with while traveling that state — It’s not John Perdue’s money.
Let’s, for the sake of argument, say the money was found. “Found” implies that the money was lost, unaccounted for, or hidden. All these potentials are, at the very least, worrisome and, at worst, disturbing. This creates obvious questions that demand answers, both now and at the ballot box in November. After 24 years in office, how can there be this level of unaccountability for massive sums of money? How much more is there in the Treasurer’s office that needs to be “found”? Was this done for political gain?
The fact that this money was suddenly found during an election year is alarming and symptomatic of the politicization of the Treasurer’s office. It is curious that during the budget crisis of 2017, Treasurer Perdue never made mention of any additional funds being available to plug the hole in the budget. In 2018, when funds were needed to protect PEIA through a stability fund, there was not a word from the Treasurer’s office. Yet now, during an election year, the money has suddenly been “found.” It must be said: These facts do not add up.
As to the question of how much more money is “lost” in the Treasurer’s office, that answer will never be found as long as Perdue remains in office. West Virginia won’t have the answers it deserves until we elect a new state Treasurer committed to making the office more transparent and accountable to the people of our great state. That is why I am running to be the next state Treasurer of West Virginia.
Good governance isn’t a talking point; it’s a mandate from the people who hire us to serve. The people of our state deserve no less. One of the guiding principles I have kept close to my heart and conscience as I have served West Virginia is — this is not our money, it’s the people’s money and I will do everything I can to return as much as possible to the people of our great state.
The reality is that West Virginia has moved beyond the “Darrell McGraw” style of politics. The people of West Virginia deserve greater transparency, accountability and modernization in the state Treasurer’s office. The only way to realize those expectations is by voting for change in November this year. Twenty-four years is long enough. Thank you for your service, Treasurer Perdue, but it is time for the next generation to take the reins.
Moore, a Morgantown native, resides in Harpers Ferry. He formerly represented Jefferson County in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Read Original Article Here: https://www.theintelligencer.net/opinion/local-columns/2020/03/20-million-is-west-virginians-not-perdues/