YES, WEST VIRGINIA, THERE IS BANKRUPTCY

(12/11/2003)

OPINION AND COMMENT: Bob Weaver

If West Virginia got real, we would wake up to the fact the state is bankrupt.

Lately, we've been told we are not as bad off as other states, which is doubtful.

There is not enough revenue to support state programs, from education on down.

Gov. Bob Wise has been slashing state expenses, including colleges and universities, one 10 percent, another 2.9 percent. More slashes are coming, deeper slashes in 2004 when the legislature meets.

Members of the West Virginia Legislature will be in a "hot sweat" to keep the state operating. What a task.

The Mountain State is not alone, with most states in the USA on the verge of bankruptcy. Income is down, expenses up, linked to a declining tax base.

American middle class workers and high-tech professionals who pay taxes have lost their jobs to foreign markets, and most of the jobs left are dumbed down service jobs, those jobs more recently being touted for the upward swing in the economy.

West Virginia's largest employer is WalMart.

Washington is bent on a trillion-dollar tax give-away mostly for the wealthy, an expensive new Medicare program that promises prescription drugs to seniors, but only props up an out-of-control health care system that few can afford. Health insurance is un-affordable and drug manufacturers keep raising their sky-high drug costs.

This week, Charleston is looking at purchasing drugs from foreign countries not only to help the state employee insurance program, but to make them available in local pharmacies.

The Iraqi War, which most Americans supports, has cost $150 billion for starters and the USA has plunged itself into a trillion dollar national debt that will take generations to pay off.

Where are the conservatives when we need them?

Then there is West Virginia. The Charleston Newspapers call it "homegrown political stupidity" with its pension programs $6 billion in the red, the Workman's Compensation program $4.2 billion in the hole.

Then the State of West Virginia has expanded, adding 5,000 workers since 1997. Yes, West Virginia, under a Republican governor and a Democratic governor.

Where are the conservatives when you need them?

West Virginia's answer has been gambling and maintaining a tax system that many claim is unfair to the poorest families and small businesses.

No candidate for governor from either party is telling West Virginia the awful truth, or proclaiming they will do what it takes to fix the problem.


Hur Herald ®from Sunny Cal
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