Is It Time for WV to Consolidate?
The State Journal - West Virginia has been losing population for three straight years; the coal economy is in shambles; it now appears inevitable the state will lose a Congressional seat after the 2020 Census; and until now, government consolidation has never been taken seriously. Perhaps the time has come to realize the days of county courthouses and school systems structured to accommodate travel by horse and buggy are over. Read
The Internet has arrived and broadband is the new road to travel. Yet the state's government structure and programs are still organized as if the world has stood still for the past 100 years. Has the crisis point been reached when new ideas for service delivery and government reorganization may at last be receptive to community and governmental leaders coming to the forefront in West Virginia? Perhaps the time for government consolidation has finally arrived in the Mountain State.
Ted Boettner, of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, has been quoted in the Charleston Gazette-Mail as saying, "West Virginia is just in complete stagnation." His comment is likely the sentiment of most West Virginians. Yet, little decisive action has been taken. It will take time to reverse the population trends draining the state of its lifeblood. But what can be accomplished in the near term is a complete analysis of how local, county and state governments are organized and how their services are delivered. This will help bring the economy back into balance and lay the foundation for growth over time.