The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Latest News

January 31, 2013

Tomblin rejects advisory council idea for funding drug treatment

Governor: Still committed to addressing problem

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is rejecting recommendations that he fund solutions to West Virginia’s growing drug problem by tapping the state’s $913 million rainy day fund and raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

Spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin tells the Charleston Daily Mail that Tomblin won’t embrace those two suggestions from the Advisory Council on Substance Abuse, which he organized in 2011, but he is committed to addressing the problem.

A council report released last week made nine recommendations, including two aimed at building treatment centers for some 150,000 addicts. The experts said raising cigarette taxes could create revenue for prevention or recovery programs.

But council member Rick Staton says he didn’t expect Tomblin to embrace the ideas.

The Wyoming County prosecutor and former legislator said the council understood funding decisions were Tomblin’s to make, and rejecting the proposal isn’t a “deal breaker.”

“I anticipate there will be some funding,” Staton said, “even if there’s not funding mechanisms.”

The council also recommended: giving local police more power to enforce alcohol control laws; reducing the flow of paper money to welfare recipients through debit cards; finding alternatives to driver’s license revocation for people who don’t pay fines so they can remain employed; and measuring the outcomes of state-funded drug treatment programs.

Experts have linked a variety of problems, including child abuse and overcrowded prisons, to the state’s drug problem

But Tomblin won re-election last fall after pledging not to raise taxes.

Shuler Goodwin says the governor has already put $7.5 million into substance abuse treatment programs, actions praised by state court system administrator and council member Steve Canterbury.

There isn’t enough money to fill all the gaps in service, he said, “but the governor did direct, I think, a good strategic sum to fill those gaps where they are most needed.”

The state may also be able to redirect money if it embraces changes aimed at reducing the jail and prison population.

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative, a project of the nonprofit Council of State Governments, says West Virginia could avoid $340 million in increased spending by carefully assessing offenders when they enter the criminal justice system and ensuring they’re supervised once released.

These researchers believe their package of recommendations can slow prison population growth between 2014 and 2018, avoiding the need to spend an estimated $200 million building a new prison and $140 million operating it during those five years.

1
Text Only
Latest News
  • tunnel Fire closes I-77 for hours

    East River Mountain Tunnel was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel that ignited just after 3 p.m.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • PSD board will absorb initial rate increase

    The Greenbrier Public Service District No. 1 board will absorb the first phase of tiered rate increases granted to Ronceverte by the West Virginia Public Service Commission, rather than immediately passing them along to PSD customers.

    July 26, 2014

  • Sen. Manchin, brother sued by another brother for $1.7 million

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

     

    July 26, 2014

  • couple Local couple featured in Parade Magazine

    A Beckley couple is getting their 15 minutes of fame — for the second time.

    Frank and Megan Constantino are featured in Sunday’s Parade Magazine as an example of healthy habits of happy couples.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tractor-trailer fire engulfs East River Tunnel in cloud of black smoke

    East River Mountain Tunnel near Bluefield was engulfed in a cloud of black smoke Friday as a result of a tractor-trailer fire inside the tunnel.

    July 25, 2014

  • Sen.Manchin, brother sued by another brother for $1.7 million

    A $1.7 million civil lawsuit has been filed by John Manchin II against his brothers, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Roch (Rock) Manchin.

    The suit involves funds that John Manchin claims he gave to his brothers in the late 1980s so that their carpet business could avoid bankruptcy. 

    July 25, 2014

  • twv twins One Hatfield, two actors

    If you shake hands with the cast and crew at Theatre West Virginia after the show, don’t worry if you think you’re seeing double.
    Jacob and James Cline, 12-year-old twins, are a part of the team this year, assisting  with props and portraying Little Troy Hatfield.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Construction begins on Meadow River Rail Trail

    Construction has finally begun on the Meadow River Rail Trail, a recreation project undertaken in a unique partnership between Greenbrier and Fayette counties.

    July 25, 2014

  • AARP reps talk future of Social Security

    The future of Social Security was on the menu at a listening session staged Thursday by AARP West Virginia at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

    July 25, 2014

  • Juvenile petitions sought against teens in Mount Hope B&Es

    The Fayette County Sheriff’s Department is filing juvenile petitions against two Page-area teens after two businesses in the Mount Hope area were broken into early Thursday.

    July 25, 2014