Government can do little about some of what impedes economic development in West Virginia. That being the case, it makes sense for public officials to focus on changes they can make to spur job creation.
During a conference last week in Charleston, West Virginia University College of Business and Economics Dean Jose Sartarelli offered a list of suggestions. Among them was improving the state's "policy environment."
Sartarelli said Mountain State businesses are "over-regulated." That is not the first time policy makers have heard that.
He is right, of course. Too little thought is put into what new state rules and laws cost businesses in relation to the benefits.
Legislators should insist on cost-benefit analyses for all bills that come before them. "Will it help create jobs and advance the economic interests of the state? And if it does not, it shouldn't be considered," Sartarelli said.
Obviously, it is not that simple. Some rules are needed to safeguard workers and consumers, even if businesses object to them. But the dean is right: Less attention should be paid to special interests - and more to making West Virginia a good place to do business.