CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Maloney's remark Tuesday that West Virginia politicians "just pull our pants down to get a cracker" has sparked criticism from state Democrats.
Pam Van Horn, executive director of the West Virginia Democratic Legislative Council, said Maloney's comment about Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's tax incentive bill to lure an ethane "cracker" petrochemical facility to West Virginia was "inappropriate" and "un-gubernatorial."
"It was a very poor choice of words on his part," said Van Horn, whose organization serves as the campaign committee for Democrats in the state Legislature. "It was clearly inappropriate."
On Metro News Talkline Tuesday, Maloney criticized Tomblin and West Virginia lawmakers for backing legislation designed to persuade a company to build a multibillion-dollar cracker plant in the state.
"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.
Seth Wimer, Maloney's campaign manager, said it was just "silliness" that anyone would make an issue about Maloney's "pull down our pants" remark.
Wimer declined to comment on exactly what Maloney was trying to say.
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," Wimer said Tuesday.