Take Fresh Look At Expenditures

During the past couple of years, West Virginians have been assured by many in Charleston that it is impossible to cut any more state spending. Before he even took office, new Gov. Jim Justice agreed.

“We’ve cut about all that we can cut,” Justice commented last fall.

Then, on Monday, Justice took office. One of his first acts was to order that five cars assigned to the governor’s office be turned back over to the state motor pool. People who work in his office can do without cars provided by taxpayers, he explained.

How much money will that save taxpayers? A pittance, compared to the $400 million gap it has been said Justice and legislators will have to close in the next budget. Perhaps $10,000 or $20,000 a year.

That isn’t the point, however. The governor’s office’s budget, totaling $4,688,317, is just a bit more than one-tenth of 1 percent of the state’s general revenue budget. What if every agency covered by that budget had found comparable savings on the first day the new governor was in office?

That still is far from erasing the $400 million gap.

But it is a start — a fresh start — in looking at how much we really need to spend in state government.

Keep up the good work, governor.

More important — and this will have to be in the form of an order, not a request — why not tell state agency heads they have to emulate you. You might add that if they take the easy way out, reducing services to West Virginians, they will be looking for new jobs.