Population: Higher taxes have a limit

West Virginia lawmakers, already talking about higher taxes to balance the state’s budget, should bear something in mind: As the cost of state government goes up and up and up, there are fewer Mountain State residents to cover the bill.

During the past year, our state lost nearly 10,000 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Only seven other states suffered population losses during the period.

That leaves 1,831,102 people living in the Mountain State, according to the Census estimate.

Many of them are not doing well, financially. That means lower-than-expected collections of personal income, sales and corporate taxes.

So there are fewer of us — and those left do not have very much money we can afford to send to Charleston.

The statewide, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 6 percent for November, while the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to its lowest since August 2007, at 4.6 percent. Obamacare is forcing health insurance premiums to rise sharply next year. Residents in some counties have not yet recovered from the summer’s devastating flooding, which has left them scrambling to figure out how to keep their families warm this winter.

And, yes, for far too many, the grass appears to be greener elsewhere.

Let us hope that when they convene for their annual 60-day session early next year, legislators keep that in mind.

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