Let’s “just pull our pants down to get a cracker”

In all of the seriousness surrounding the issue of shale gas drilling, sometimes you just need to smile and chuckle. This is one of those times. The headline of this post is a direct quote from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney from West Virginia. Here is the full quote in context as uttered by Maloney on the statewide radio show Metro News Talkline on Tuesday:

"If we’d fix our courts and our tort reform issues, we’d stand a lot better chance of getting a cracker than we would be in passing this huge bill that we just pull our pants down to get a cracker, when everybody should be getting the same tax breaks," Maloney said on the statewide radio show.*

The Democrats have jumped on the comment as inappropriate and “un-gubernatorial.” What, exactly, was Maloney trying to say? It seems to be a criticism of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and passage of a measure in the WV legislature granting a 25-year tax break to any ethane cracker plant locating in the state that commits to investing at least $2 billion.

It seems the Republican candidate for governor was alleging that Tomblin and state lawmakers gave up too much in their tax incentive plan to bring a cracker plant to the state. The measure, which Tomblin signed into law in late January, would slash a cracker plant’s property taxes for 25 years.

"[Maloney] was saying we shouldn’t be giving special favors to bring in a cracker when we should have a level playing field for everybody and make businesses want to come here," [campaign manager Seth] Wimer said Tuesday.*

MDN’s motive for running this particular non-story story? To give you a smile and a chuckle too.

*The Charleston Gazette (Mar 13, 2012) – Maloney’s ‘pull down pants’ comment criticized