What could have been a good idea for West Virginia state government reminds us of the sarcastic comment that the scariest nine words in the English language are, "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."
Each year, hundreds of people must trek to Charleston to take examinations required for them to obtain or renew professional licenses. Barbers, cosmetologists and real estate sales people are among those affected.
Some legislators have heard complaints from applicants who say going to Charleston for the tests is an unnecessarily time-consuming, costly process. For people from some areas, including ours and the Eastern Panhandle, spending much time in Charleston involves a long drive and an overnight stay.
So, some lawmakers are suggesting state licensing agencies and boards find ways to offer examinations at various locations throughout the state.
The state Real Estate Commission already is looking into the suggestion. It has proposed a rule change that would allow it to give licensing examinations outside Charleston.
The commission currently charges a license fee of $25. Under the proposed rules change, it could raise the fee to $150, allegedly to offset higher costs of sending examiners around the state.
Oh, good heavens! Is government incapable of doing anything better without charging more for it?
Surely some way can be found to make licensing exams more convenient without digging deeper into applicants' pockets. Lawmakers should insist on it.