Larry Messina reports that WV will once again end the current fiscal year with about a $100 million budget surplus. This continues a trend for at least the past 7 years.
|WV's Budget Plan|
Myself and other advocates have been asking for less than $1 million for child abuse prevention, and although revenue surpluses have consistently been 100 times that much - each year lawmakers say they can't afford to appropriate additional funds. Meanwhile, the cost to our state for dealing with abuse after it occurs is staggering - not to mention the impact on children's lives.
I understand the importance of financial stewardship. But West Virginia has the best funded Rainy Day Funds in the country. We keep saving money for a Rainy Day, but as one of the poorest states in the nation, it is already a Rainy Day for many West Virginians - especially children.
I think it's time we dedicated a portion of our state's budget surpluses to supporting early childhood programs that we know will yield positive benefits to improve our state - rather than essentially stuffing the money in a mattress and wondering why WV remains at the bottom of national rankings.