Delegate David Walker - 06.14.12
While I was preparing my remarks this week, it occurred to me that June 14 is (was) Flag Day. Since the day slips by oftentimes unnoticed, I thought I’d stop and salute it with a bit of fact finding I hope is informative and interesting.
The event takes place across the country each year on June 14. It is believed that June 14, 1777 is the official date the nation adopted the flag. Flag Day is specifically intended for celebrating “The Star-Spangled Banner”, our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,“ is based on a 15-star, 15-stripe flag, but the U.S. flag has been modified 26 times since its initial adoption. Today’s 50-star flag, created in 1960, has been in use the longest and remains today.
The U.S. Code, a compilation of general and permanent laws, includes very specific rules about how the American flag should be displayed, how fast the flag should be hoisted and another indicates how high it should be flown. Most importantly, the code mandates the proper retirement of a flag.
We don’t have a common ethnic heritage. Our differences are often deeper than the superficial. We have dissimilar beliefs, values, desires, and goals. But, our flag is what connects us. The sight of the Stars and Stripes means we hold dear principles in which we all take pride.
Thursday marked the flag’s birthday, a day worth celebrating! I thought it worthy of mention since “Old Glory” is our symbol of strength, perseverance, freedom, equality.“
Also, Thursday marked 58 years since the U.S. added “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and the Army turned 237 years old on Thursday as well.
Which allows me to transition into West Virginia military news.
West Virginia’s Troops to Teachers program is part of a national initiative to encourage veterans to become teachers in low-income communities. The Mountain State’s program ranked 12th in the nation for placing veterans in school systems in 2011.
Forty veterans have been hired since 2008. That’s up from an average of one per year from 1994 to 2008. West Virginia’s program has drawn interest from 850 veterans around the world. More than 300 have registered in the state. Veterans are wanted in the school systems because they’re leaders and role models.
And, in other good state news, West Virginia is faring better than many states financially, according to a report released this month. The survey was conducted and published by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.
The state will finish the 2011-12 budget year June 30 with $850 million in its Rainy Day surplus funds—the fifth-largest such fund by dollar amount in the U.S., and third largest as a%age of the state’s operating budget, at 20%. The fund is projected to grow to $900 million, or 21.4% of the annual budget, by June 2013, according to the Spring 2012 Fiscal Survey of States.
West Virginia is one of 10 states that have Rainy Day funds equal to 10% or more of the state’s operating budget, as recommended by financial analysts. West Virginia also was the only state to cut taxes in 2012, amounting to an $11 million reduction in sales taxes and a $22 million reduction in corporate taxes, according to the survey.
It will be one of a handful of states to continue to cut taxes in the 2013-14 budget, with an additional 1% reduction in the sales tax on food and continued reductions in state corporate net and business franchise taxes providing an additional $58 million of tax relief in the 2013-14 budget year.
West Virginia has been managed well with sound fiscal reasoning. It’s good to report good news.
With celebratory congratulations to the flag opening this column, it is indeed fitting I should salute our Mountain home on her 149th Birthday in closing the column.
West Virginia was formally admitted to the United States of America on June 20, 1863, and while June 20 had been informally celebrated across West Virginia for decades, the West Virginia Legislature gave the holiday formal recognition in 1927. So, Happy Birthday West Virginia!
We will be returning to Charleston for our June Interim meetings, scheduled for the 25th through the 27th. While committee meeting agendas are still in the works, I imagine they will be completed sometime next week. The times and places can be located on www.legis.state.wv.us/committees/interims/intcomsched_agenda.cfm
Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns that you feel need addressed. You can reach me by calling 304.340.3135, by e-mailing “email@example.com” or writing to my office address: Room 210W, Building 1, State Capitol Complex Charleston, WV 25305.