It is virtually inevitable government services will be cut in West Virginia, as a result of an order that most state agencies reduce spending by 7.5 percent during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Why is spending being slashed? Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin explained it Monday, in announcing the mandate. Costs for the Medicaid program are rising drastically. Coal production is decreasing and with it, severance taxes are dropping. Finally, the economy in general is lagging, the governor explained.
Where should the blame fall? President Barack Obama's war on coal is directly responsible for cutbacks in production of that fuel. The Obama administration and liberals in Congress have contributed to higher Medicaid costs - and want much larger increases. Finally, waste of trillions of dollars in "stimulus" and "bailout" programs by Congress and the White House have, if anything, aggravated rather than solved the nation's economic slowdown. The national unemployment rate actually increased during the last reporting month.
During most of the nationwide recession, West Virginia state government did well in comparison to most other states. That was because we in West Virginia managed our money more prudently than leaders in places such as California, New York and Illinois.
But the federal government's spending spree - with some of it funded by mandates on the states - finally has caught up to us.
A few programs, including public schools and Medicaid, will be exempt from state spending cuts. But some social programs will suffer. West Virginians who need help - and who got it before Obama led the current drive for bigger, more expensive and intrusive government - will be left out in the cold, perhaps literally as well as figuratively. Again, don't blame state officials.
The fault lies almost entirely with Obama and liberals in Congress.