"I think if we can get rid of this thing they call personal property tax we can actually have some chemical plants come into this valley and have some steel mills come back to Weirton, and we can grow other parts of the economy," Maloney said.
While he acknowledged that counties derive a lot their revenue through property taxes, Maloney says the state needs to give counties more freedom to raise revenue.
In 2007, West Virginia lawmakers created a five-year home rule project that gave cities greater freedom from state controls. Bridgeport, Charleston, Huntington and Wheeling were picked to participate in the experiment, which ends in 2013.
Maloney said West Virginia should look at New Jersey as an example of how to give communities more options. A West Virginia toolkit would allow cities and counties more control over their own futures, he said.
New Jersey's toolkit is designed to address ever-increasing property taxes and to ensure that county governments live within their means. It encompasses 33 points of reform, but doesn't address ways counties can raise revenue.
Maloney decried what he calls the "picking and choosing of winners and losers" when it comes to special tax credits and deals to attract large businesses to West Virginia. He mentioned Cabela's, in Wheeling, and the Macy's coming to the Eastern Panhandle. While admitting he didn't know if special deals were made, he questioned if existing businesses in those areas had received any of the same benefits for starting and growing their businesses.
Maloney wants to decentralize education and get parents and communities more involved, but he offered no specifics as to how to involve them in the process.
He wants workers to be trained for the work force of the future, especially with the impending development of the Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits, but offered no details as to what that training would entail.
"There's just not enough opportunity," he said. "If you can grow the economy, we would not have the issues we're facing."
Six Democrats are seeking their party's nomination in the primary. The Mountain Party will chose from two candidates during a May 1 party convention.