I don’t understand western Virginia either, but that’s a post for another day.
West Virginia is in the middle of a budget meltdown from low commodities prices. The governor does not want to further tap the rainy day fund, which has $784 million. I can understand that. But I do not understand the politics behind legislators in a poor and racially homogenous state refusing to countenance any tax hikes. The alternative is “closure of eight State Police detachments and 87 trooper layoffs; 350 jobs eliminated across colleges and universities and closure of at least four community college campuses; and layoffs of 166 workers at state hospitals.”
The state Senate passed a series of taxes imposed on tobacco, driving and professional services: dead so far in the House. Where they are mulling a $100 million tax break for oil and gas, the same industry which created the problem. Tax revenue from coal and gas falls, so cut revenue further from coal and gas, in the hope that the industry comes back for a future increase in fiscal dependency on coal and gas. Huh?
I am astounded to say this, but West Virginia could learn from Ecuador.
But the real question is: what’s driving anti-tax mania in West Virginia? Somehow I doubt that it’s Keynesianism, which makes little sense in the context of economies as open as the typical American state. And I have trouble imagining that voters can be bamboozled by slick campaign ads when they see cuts affecting services they need. So what’s going on?