Commentary: How much poverty budgeting will West Va. take?

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Commentary: How much poverty budgeting will West Va. take?
By Rick Wilson, for The Charleston Gazette editorial page

There’s been a lot of buzz lately about how the website WalletHub came up with a list of the best and worst places for millennials to live. It’s no surprise that West Virginia came out on the bottom. But, as my friend Stephen Smith wrote with Pastor Mason Ballard in a Gazette-Mail op-ed online, it’s the best state to come to, if you want to make a difference.

And God knows we need that.

One of the reasons West Virginia might be unattractive to younger newcomers is the fact that it’s kind of falling apart, and the Republican majority in the Legislature apparently wants to pass a poverty budget that keeps things that way, by cutting K-12 and higher education, slashing social services and neglecting to invest in our people and infrastructure.

Gazette-Mail reporter Phil Kabler had a great riff on that theme in a recent column in which he envisioned the state as a shabby and unmaintained apartment for rent in a run-down neighborhood where schools are neglected and teachers laid off. Who would want to live in a place like that unless they had to?

One thing that could make things better in the short term is a budget that invests in people and infrastructure, along the lines that Gov. Jim Justice has proposed. Before a certain memorable news conference, lots of people I know were hoping he would veto the Legislature’s proposed budget.

Read more here.