Platform & Positions

Freedom and Responsibility

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on Freedom and Responsibility?

Personal responsibility is discouraged by the government of West Virginia limiting individuals the opportunity to exercise it. In fact, the denial of freedom fosters irresponsibility.

 

Individuals must be free to make choices for themselves so long as their actions do not adversely effect or have negative consequences on other citizens; and to accept responsibility for the consequences of the choices they make. We must accept the right of other West Virginians to choose for themselves if we are to have the same right. Our support of an individual's right to make choices in life does not mean that we necessarily approve or disapprove of those choices. People must accept personal responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

 

Libertarian policies will promote a society where people are free to make and learn from their own decisions.

 

Transitional Action:
Repeal all laws that presume government knows better than the individual how to run that person’s life. Encourage private sector dissemination of information to help consumers make informed decisions on products and services. Enforce laws against fraud and misrepresentation.

Freedom of Religion

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on Freedom of Religion?

Government routinely invades personal privacy rights based solely on individuals’ religious beliefs. Arbitrary tax structures are designed to give aid to certain religions, and deny it to others.

 

Principle:
We defend the rights of individuals to engage in (or abstain from) any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. No West Virginia law or practice should either aid or attack any religion. State taxation of church property must be eliminated.

 

Transitional Action:
End any proposed taxation of churches or religious institutions through threats to deny tax-exempt status for refusing to disclose information to tax offices.

The Right to Privacy

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on the Right to Privacy?

Privacy protections have been eroded gradually over many years. The Social Security Number has become a universal ID number, causing rampant and massive identity theft.

 

The individual's right to privacy, property, and right to speak or not to speak should not be infringed by the government. We oppose the issuance by the government of an identity card, to be required for any purpose, such as employment, voting, or border crossing. We further oppose the nearly universal requirement for use of the Social Security Number as a personal identification code, whether by government agencies or by intimidation of private companies by governments.

 

Transitional Action:
Eliminate the requirement for submission of a social security number (as printed on an official government card) in order to obtain or renew a West Virginia Drivers License. Eliminate the requirement that the US Social Security Number be printed on the driver’s license or maintained in a government file.

Trade and the Economy

What is the general position of the Libertarian Party of West Virginia pertaining to the economy?

Every citizen and person has the right to offer goods and services to others on the free market. Therefore we oppose all intervention by government into the area of personal economics. The only proper role of existing governments in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.

 

Efforts to forcibly redistribute wealth or forcibly manage trade are intolerable. Government manipulation of the economy creates an entrenched privileged class -- those with access to tax money -- and an exploited class -- those who are net taxpayers.

 

All individuals have the right to dispose of the fruits of their labor as they see fit and that government has no right to take such wealth. We oppose government-enforced charity such as welfare programs and subsidies, but we heartily applaud those individuals and private charitable organizations that help the needy and contribute to a wide array of worthwhile causes through voluntary activities.

Property Rights

What position does the Libertarian Party of West Virginia take on Property Rights?

The right to property and its physical resources is the fundamental cornerstone of a free and prosperous society, but it has been severely compromised by government at all levels. Public Policy instruments including eminent domain, zoning laws, building codes, rent control, regional planning, property taxes, resource management and public health legislation remove property rights from owners and transfer them to the State, while raising costs of property ownership. Public ownership of real property, beyond that which is explicitly authorized in the Constitution, and claims against resources both owned and un-owned (such as the oceans or waterways) is illegitimate and creates scarcity and conflict where none would otherwise exist.

 

Only individuals and private entities have the full right to control, use, dispose of, or in any manner enjoy their property without interference, until and unless the exercise of their control infringes on the valid rights of others. Resource management and planning are the responsibility and right of the legitimate owners of land, water and other natural resources. Individuals have the right to homestead un-owned resources, both within the jurisdictions of governments and within such unclaimed territory as the ocean, Antarctica and extraterrestrial bodies.

 

All public lands and resources, as well as claims thereto, except as explicitly allowed by the Constitution, must be returned to private ownership, with the proceeds of sale going to retire public liabilities. Resource rights shall be defined as property rights, including riparian rights. All publicly owned infrastructures including dams and parks shall be returned to private ownership and all taxing authority for such public improvements must end. Property related services shall be supplied by private markets and paid for by user fees, and regulation of property shall be limited to that which secures the rights of individuals. The federal government shall be held as liable as any individual for pollution or other transgression against property or resources.

 

Transitional Action:
Rescind all taxation of real property. Property, resources and rights taken from their legitimate owners by government or by government supported private action, shall be restored to the rightful owners. Reverse legislation decisions regarding eminent domain. Repeal all legislation that transfers property rights to the state, including those enacted in the name of aesthetic values, risk, moral standards, cost-benefit estimates, the promotion or restriction of economic growth, health or national security claims. Eliminate all federal agencies that own, regulate or administer property, as well as agencies at the local level which exercise control over private property and resources. Rescind and oppose all international treaties that exercise government control over un-owned resources.

Government Debt

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on Government spending and debt?

The national debt and state deficits impose debt upon Americans without their consent, and load our economy with a fiscal anchor that will burden many future generations. Our escalating national debt is nothing less than theft from our grandchildren.

 

The West Virginia State Government should operate on a "pay as you go" basis, and not incur debt.

 

A debt-free government frees up economic resources, allowing for lower taxes, economic growth and lower interest rates.
The West Virginia CAFR for 2011 shows that Interest paid in 2011 was in excess of $123 million. Business And Occupation Tax revenues were $127 million in 2011. It is clear that it takes almost the entire tax to pay interest on the state debt.

 

Transitional Action:
Eliminate the national debt using an incremental approach, being careful to avoid social disruption. Demand and ensure a balanced state budget each year. Support the passage of a “Balanced Budget Amendment” to the US Constitution that restricts Congress from spending any more than it collected in revenue the previous year.

 

Eliminate earmarks, pork-barrel spending, and other forms of political corruption.
Congress should sell assets and reduce spending on non-essential functions to pay off the national debt as quickly as possible.

Corporate Welfare, Monopolies & Subsidies

Where does the Libertarian Party of West Virginia stand regarding subsidies and corporate welfare?

Subsidies, government-granted monopolies, and other forms of corporate welfare today exist as privileges granted by government to those with political access. These destroy the level playing field that free markets depend on, create a corrupt relationship between government authority and special interests, and are unconstitutional. Furthermore, the loans by government-sponsored entities, even when not guaranteed by the government, constitute another form of subsidy.

 

Individuals must be free to be aggressive competitors and form corporations, cooperatives and other types of companies based on voluntary association in the market place, and must enjoy no state-sponsored advantage. Those who best supply a good or service in the market will enjoy natural dominance only as long as they continue to benefit consumers. Subsidies and government-granted monopolies protect the non-competitive from market forces.

 

Replacement of all government-granted monopolies and subsidies with deregulated free markets and informed consumers will benefit both consumers and producers, eliminate political favoritism, and maintain a strict separation of markets and state authority. Genuine crimes committed to create a monopoly, such as blackmail, bribery, fraud, libel or slander are prosecuted as any other crime.

 

Transitional Action:
Eliminate all state and federal grants of monopoly or subsidy to any private companies, such as utilities, airlines, energy companies, agriculture, science, medicine, broadcasting, the arts and sports teams. Repeal all anti-trust laws. All federal agencies whose primary function is to make or guarantee corporate loans must be abolished or privatized.

 

Eliminate only grants from state only sources but allow Federal pass through grants until the system is changed at the Federal level. Taxes are being paid by WV residents to the Federal government. As long at we are taxed, to be fair to West Virginia, money should come back to WV from the Federal Government.

Education

What position does the Libertarian Party of West Virginia take regarding the education of our youth?

All primary and secondary education should be under the control of the communities from which the students come. The state control of schools, the consolidation of schools and the excessive bus transportation imposed upon our children is detrimental to their learning and has provided no improvements in education standards in West Virginia.

 

Transitional Action:
Recognize that as Governor there are limits that can be done at the Federal level. Eliminate only grants from state only sources but allow Federal pass through grants until the system is changed at the Federal level. Taxes are being paid by WV residents to the Federal government. As long at we are taxed, to be fair to West Virginia, money should come back to WV from the Federal Government.

 

Return control of the school systems to the local communities. Eliminate the state school board or reduce it to a simple educational monitoring and support activity to help improve local education at the request of the community school systems.

 

End school consolidations.

 

Provide vouchers for students that want to attend certified private schools.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Where does the Libertarian Party of West Virginia stand regarding the right to keep and bear arms?

Governments at all levels often violate their citizens’ right of self defense with laws that restrict, limit or outright prohibit the ownership and use of firearms. These “gun control” laws are often justified by the mistaken premise that they will lead to a reduction in the level of violence in our society.

 

The Bill of Rights recognizes that an armed citizenry is essential to a free society. We affirm the right to keep and bear arms.

 

Transition Actions:
Eliminate all laws at any level of government restricting, regulating or requiring the ownership, manufacture, transfer or sale of firearms or ammunition. We oppose all laws requiring registration of firearms or ammunition.

 

Repeal of all gun control laws. Abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

 

Eliminate any government efforts to ban or restrict the use of tear gas, "mace" or other self-protection devices.

 

Oppose all attempts to ban weapons or ammunition on the grounds that they are risky or unsafe. We favor the repeal of laws banning the concealment of weapons or prohibiting pocket weapons.

 

Eliminate all conflicting laws for firearms use such as those specified by the State and the Division of Natural resources.

 

Replace abolish the ATF with supporting legislation exempting from all federal regulations guns manufactured and sold within the state.

Right to Work

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on Right to Work laws?

We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment. We oppose government-fostered forced retirement. We support the right of free persons to associate or not associate in labor unions, and an employer should have the right to recognize or refuse to recognize a union. We oppose government interference in bargaining, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.

 

West Virginia is not a right-to-work state and has a high unionization rate of 10.3 percent of the private sector. The public- sector unionization rate is 26.1 percent. The state also provides unemployment benefits for striking employees involved in a labor dispute, and does not permit employers to require employees to cross picket lines. While West Virginia has relatively low workers’ compensation benefit premiums, it covers benefit levels that are among the highest in the nation. The state also has a high ratio of labor and employment lawsuits, at approximately 2.56 lawsuits filed per 10,000 employees.

 

Forcing a person to join an organization and pay dues as a requirement for being able to work is a violation of basic human rights. It is as obscene as requiring a person to join a political party and pay dues as a requirement to vote, or forcing a person to subscribe to specific dietary laws as a requirement for eating, or being forced to pay dues to the American Automobile Association before being allowed the right to drive a car.

 

Transition Actions:
Eliminate all closed shop laws and allow the unions and other organizations the opportunity to appeal to workers according to the benefits that they provide, not by dictate of the law.

Business and Industrial Development

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia doing for business development throughout the state?

West Virginia is one of the two poorest states in the union, largely due to the fact that business development is not encouraged and is discouraged through excess business taxation.

 

The state is rich in natural resources, but these are exploited by out-of-state corporations and are used to build industrial infrastructure in other states.

 

West Virginia has the lowest Business Freedom rating of all the states in America.

 

Business development is strong all along but on the other side of every West Virginia border. The adjoining states take advantage of these industrial developments to the loss of income and labor of West Virginia.

 

Transition Actions:
Reduce all business excise taxes immediately to the level or below the corresponding level of all surrounding states.

 

Promote the use of West Virginia natural resources, coal, oil, gas and wind and solar power for the development of industries within West Virginia rather than as energy export products.

 

Reduce all gasoline taxes to the level or below the corresponding levels of all surrounding states.

 

Apply road tolls and associated taxes only to transient traffic across West Virginia and not to the residents or short-term visitors to the state.

Family and Consumer Taxes

What is the Libertarian Party of West Virginia's position on family and consumer taxes?

No citizen should be taxed for procurement of goods or services that are essential to the maintenance of life.

 

Transition Actions:
End all current sales taxes on food and food products.

 

Reform all sales taxes according to whether items are matters of human necessity or luxury items.