I realize that this is the one week where you’re not supposed to complain about fireworks. But I’m gonna.
Back in 2016 West Virginia legalized the almost unlimited use of fireworks by any citizen. There was no great hue and cry for this. The majority of people didn’t care enough about the issue to object, and the ALEC-afflicted legislature would not do anything else to possibly raise revenue by increasing taxes, so the bill passed on a 96-0 vote, and was signed into law by Governor Tomblin.
A poison pill to keep this law from being repealed pledged 75% of the funds to veterans and the remainder to local fire departments. This cynical move was partially to cover up the politically-connected people who stood to make the real money on this law.
In typical West Virginia political fashion, it’s a safe bet that companies controlled by spouses or siblings of legislators own a good number of those fireworks tents that spring up like weeds on every paved lot in the area in the spring.
Now, after two years of local neighborhoods sounding like war zones from May to December, legalized fireworks are seen as a scourge by the vast majority of voters. If they put a referendum on the ballot in November, I have no doubt that the law would be repealed in a landslide.I have never heard more hostility coming from otherwise peaceful people than I have when listening to the complaints about morons with fireworks. We really need to reverse this wretched decision.
But our current legislature would never let that happen. Veterans groups, who theoretically get most of the money from the 12% tax on fireworks, would be caught between supporting a source of revenue, or representing the interests of Veterans who suffer from PTSD.
I grew out of any desire to blow stuff up by the time I hit puberty. I have to wonder if some of the attraction people have to fireworks is the phallic shape of most explosives sold in those tents. There are an awful lot of dildo-looking fireworks out there. Makes you wonder what kind of twisted, repressed sexuality is behind all this stuff.
If you asked people this week to name the biggest problem facing this state, chances are that legal fireworks might edge out opiods or Hep-A. In a state that bristles under the label “most miserable,” fireworks have raise the misery levels in this state tenfold. This was legislation by trial and error, and the error is so obvious now that something has to be done to correct this awful mistake. West Virginia cannot afford to further degrade the quality of life here.
However, it’s not kosher to propose a change and a loss of tax revenue without offering up a solution to the lost fireworks tax monies. So how about we re-outlaw fireworks, and at the same time we legalize recreational marijuana?
Just think, we could slap a 30% tax on it. Dedicate half of it to the veterans and fire departments and use the rest to finance a revitalized tourism agency. You know it’ll bring in way more money than fireworks, which are only sold to the small portion of our population that thinks spending money on things that burn and blow up fast is a good idea.
And the folks who are currently bespoiling the lives of their neighbors by setting off fireworks all the time (even in the daylight–the idiots)? Hand ’em a joint and tell them to rub their eyes–it’ll give them the same effect without pestering everybody else, and they’ll still get to spend their money on stuff that they can burn for moments of fleeting joy.
That’s my modest proposal. If the legislators bitch about their families losing their fireworks tent income, let them set up pot tents. I’d rather see this state look like a Grateful Dead festival than a war zone.