Some of West Virginia’s greatest fiscal achievements in the past few decades have required admirable political fortitude and discipline.
West Virginia’s elected officials have shored up nearly all previously unwieldy long-term debt by setting aggressive payment schedules for public pension funds.
At the same time, our leaders resisted the urge to spend every penny of surplus state revenues and instead locked them away in the Rainy Day Fund. Officials also eliminated one of West Virginia’s biggest fiscal detriments by overhauling workers’ compensation, setting up a payment plan for old program debts and privatizing the system.
These commendable actions have resulted in improved bond ratings during a time when many other states could not pay their bills. But West Virginia leaders are well aware that great challenges remain, such as:
- The slow-growing national economy;
- Health care and pension financing issues for an aging population;
- The growing need for infrastructure repairs and rehabilitation; and,
- Federal budget cutbacks and reduced federal revenues allocated to states.
West Virginia should continue on its prudent trajectory in managing the state’s finances, making spending cuts where necessary while protecting critical fiscal control measures.