Thursday, January 16, 2014

West Virginia's Budget Situation May Not Be As Secure As We Thought

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a study this week that rated states' financial conditions.  West Virginia, which has done relatively well in the past decade, actually rates as one of the worst states in the nation in terms of solvency.

This study does not rate what has been done in the past, but speculates on both the near future and the next several years.  It asked:

Can a state easily access enough cash to pay its bills?

Can it consistently create enough revenue to pay its bills?

Can it cover long term obligations?

Can it continue to provide an adequate level of services?

According to Mercatus, West Virginia's financial position is fairly fragile.  Some of the reasons stem from the severe drop in coal production due to Obama Administration policies.  The state also shot itself in the foot by signing up for the expansion of Medicaid encouraged by the federal government.  Initially federal money would cover the costs, but eventually the state must assume the burden.

Revenues are dropping but the state has expanded its entitlement burden without considering the cost. Obama's bad policy and state Democrats' poor judgment threaten to undo the financial security West Virginia has enjoyed for the past several years.

Clearly the state needs leadership that is not tied so tightly to the Democratic Party.

The Ghost of Census' Yet to Come Predicts West Virginia Loses a Congressional Seat

Most people know about the three spirits in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  Dickens is a stubborn and self-destructive man on many levels.  To save him from a miserable, lonely death, the spirits come to offer what later gets called "tough love."

Those who just flew in from the moon and are unfamiliar with the plot can check this out.

The Washington Post this week played the part of the grim Ghost of Census Yet to Come.  It projected that by 2060, West Virginia, among other states, will relatively or absolutely decline in population to the point that it will lose another seat in Congress.

Ebeneezer Scrooge asked the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, when showed his miserable fate of dying alone, if these were events fated or changeable.  The Ghost grimly refused to reply.

Scrooge did not accept his possible fate.  he changed his ways.  So ought West Virginia.  Experts know what builds development, productivity, wealth, and population.  Reform the court system, weed out unnecessary regulations, licenses, and fee requirements, resist the temptation to raise the minimum wage, enact fair tax practices for all rather than special deals for a few.

The question is, will West Virginia enact these measures or drift down the road to irrelevance in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College?