Bad Debt

Justice’s businesses owe back taxes in Va., Ky.

It was bad enough that Gov. Jim Justice’s businesses owed millions of dollars in back taxes to counties in the Mountain State. At least that was an issue for West Virginians to settle with our governor.

But Justice’s companies also owe large back-tax bills in Virginia and Kentucky. The fact the money has not yet been paid is, in a way, a reflection on our entire state.

We did elect him governor, after all –and we did so with full knowledge of his tax problems.

On Monday, Justice held a press conference to announce his family-owned businesses have settled tax disputes with the state and some counties. He did not reveal the total amount involved statewide.

Justice did say that McDowell and Wyoming counties have received a total of $4.1 million in back taxes for 2014 and 2015.

Both counties’ economies have struggled during recent years. Lack of the money owed by Justice companies made life more difficult for the counties, including their public schools. Resolution of the problem is long overdue.

These things take time, Justice has said in the past. Indeed, they can. In fairness, it has to be pointed out that some of the issues involved disagreements about how much was owed.

Still. “It’s been a struggle,” Justice said Monday. Perhaps so, but the struggle has been worse for the counties involved than for the governor. At one time he was said to be the richest man in West Virginia.

As to back taxes owed in Virginia and Kentucky, the governor said efforts are being made to resolve those debts.

“It may take a little time,” he added.

The sooner the better, governor.

We in the Mountain State are not happy at all in the knowledge our highest elected official owes our neighbors money.