Spending by West Virginia state government is expanding at a near-frantic pace, with much of the increase due to programs such as Medicaid that, in effect, hand money to low-income people and families who would much rather have jobs and pay their own way.
During a two-year period from the 2013 fiscal year through FY 2015, state spending is expected to increase by about $1.5 billion, with much of the money coming from Washington to support Medicaid expansion. The state budget will top $12 billion by FY 2015.
Yet there is no money available for tax breaks that could provide more jobs for Mountain State residents.
A strange argument against tax breaks was made last week by House of Delegates Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison. He noted a tax break on "flex-fuel" vehicles, most of which has been repealed, has cost the state $100 million.
Of course state government should not be picking winners and losers by targeting specific businesses and industries for tax relief. The flex-fuel fiasco was a terrible mistake.
But finding ways to provide tax and regulatory relief to all types of businesses will expand the state's economy, provide more jobs, and pump more money into the treasury.
That, not politically correct initiatives such as the flex-fuel vehicles break, is what lawmakers should be considering.