Charleston Gazette-Mail, Martinsburg Journal – The only thing West Virginia lawmakers are constitutionally required to do during the Legislature’s regular session is to pass a state budget for the ensuing fiscal year. But responsible stewardship requires looking beyond just the next year to ensure the state is on a sustainable fiscal path, as elected officials make decisions that will affect revenue and the budget for years to come.
Read the full op-ed.
While, in recent decades, West Virginia has consistently utilized a long-range budget assessment known as a “six year financial plan,” such a plan has not been produced for the past three years, with no reasonable explanation as to why.
Over that period, lawmakers have made significant, sweeping changes to the state’s tax system and passed broad new programs with large price tags — all without the benefit of a long-term fiscal forecast. It is imperative that, when lawmakers come back to the Capitol in January, their budget package includes a six-year financial plan to help strengthen their fiscal stewardship of the government.