CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—West Virginia Governor Jim Justice was unable to give his State of the State address in person to the West Virginia Legislature due to health reasons after being diagnosed with COVID-19.

The governor did, however, send a written State of the State to the Legislature, as is required by West Virginia State law.

The governor highlighted the unemployment rate in the state. Governor Justice wrote the number of people without a job in West Virginia went from 7.1% in January 2021 to 4.0% Wednesday, January 12, 2022. This is the lowest recorded in all of state history, according to the governor. On the job front, Governor Justice said more than $1.1 billion was invested in the state by 39 different companies through Economic Development efforts and activities. This created more than 1,330 new jobs, while retaining more than 6,400 additional jobs.

The governor also noted his plans to propose a “flat budget.” This would include a third pay raise for state employees. Governor Justice said his budget is 1.4% higher than last year. He added they will not be dipping into the Rainy Day Fund, which now has over $1 billion in funding.

Also in the State of the State Address was the investment to feed the hungry in West Virginia. In 2021, the state was able to provide millions of support to food banks. The Legislature put $1 million into last year’s budget and the governor will request the same amount of funding for Fiscal Year 2023.

You can read his full address below.

The governor plans to call a joint session of the Legislature when he recovers from COVID-19 to deliver the address in person.