As you mail that tax payment today – or if you have and are reflecting on the meaning of “tax day” — think of all the important investments you are making.
It can be easy to take for granted all the necessities we invest in with our tax dollars. Roads, bridges, schools, safety inspectors, firefighters, police officers, teachers, and higher education — none of them are free, all of them are crucial to keeping our state a good place to live and raise our families. To build a strong economy and create jobs, we need to invest in what works, and this isn’t possible without taxes.
It costs money to maintain things that are important. Our young people are important. Quality schools and pre-schools, affordable colleges and universities, and effective job-training give West Virginians the skills they need to for a prosperous future. A quality education gives our children a better chance at success in the future.
Businesses are important. We need their jobs, and investing in our state makes it a better place to do business. We can best attract businesses and their employees to locate to West Virginia if we have state-of-the-art roads and bridges, safe communities, and overall good quality of life. And a well-trained workforce.
Taxes help make these public investments possible. Cutting state income taxes or corporate income taxes in the hope that doing so will help the economy actually undermines our ability to support these important services that businesses and families rely on every day.
We can do better.
Since 2008, West Virginia has reduced support for its colleges and universities by almost a third. In response, these important institutions have raised tuition – making it harder for many West Virginians to afford college — and reduced course offerings, meaning it can take longer to graduate. Is this the way to train our future workforce and keep our young people in West Virginia?
We need to focus on making sure we have the resources we need to invest in the building blocks of job creation and economic growth. If we don’t, we will limit West Virginia’s opportunities and undermine our own prosperity.
We owe it our kids to continue that commitment.
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