Denise Giardina and Bob Myers' economic agendas for the state don't tray far from their anti-coal and anti-government platforms.
Both Giardina and Myers oppose a regional airport in Lincoln County, however. Gov. Cecil Underwood and Rep. Bob Wise, the Republican and Democratic contenders, support the concept of a regional airport. Giardina wants to tax any individual or company who owns more than 10,000 acres of land in the state. She also wants a coal
tax. Last year, mountaintop removal mining and valley fills prompted the
award-winning novelist to start the Mountain Party and run for governor. "People can't diversify the economy if they don't have access to the land to build houses and build businesses on," Giardina said. "We need to diversify and stop
depending on the coal
industry, and that means first of all stopping giving them tax credits. ... Use those resources in other directions," she said. Giardina also wants more state money spent on tourism, alternative agriculture, and water and sewer development in Southern West Virginia. She agrees with Rep. Bob Wise that state businesses should be given more emphasis than out-of-state recruitment. In typical third-party fashion, she's more forceful than Wise, who has aid diplomatically: "There needs to be some changes in the effort to
encourage retention and development from within, as well as industrial recruitment from the outside." (See accompanying story.) On her Web page, Giardina says it this way: "Tax credits should go to businesses owned by you and your neighbors, not outside companies like Rite-Aid that pull up stakes and leave. We should encourage the start-up of more home-grown businesses and build a reputation as a haven for small businesses." Myers opposes all tax incentives. Economics in West Virginia are bad "in spite of an effort by state government to throw taxpayer dollars at economic development," Myers said. "As a Libertarian, we do not believe that the government should be involved in economic development. We believe that the government's role is to create a simple environment that will allow people's natural entrepreneurial abilities to flourish," he said. "That means lower taxes
, less regulation, less mandates, less restrictions, leading toward a free- market atmosphere where people can buy and sell products and make products and services without government interference." To contact staff writer Kelly Regan, use e-mail or call 348-5163.