Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has suggested cutting back on the funds local governments receive from video lottery revenue as a way to help the state's continuing budget shortfall.
Under state law, a percentage of video lottery revenues is distributed back to the counties. As a result, our local counties, which receive funds from the LVL businesses and the machines at area racetracks, have seen quite a windfall, much of which has been put toward special projects, economic development efforts, or rainy day funds. Some communities have even used these funds to support their police and fire departments' pensions.
Under Tomblin's proposal, much of that funding would now be kept at the state level, cutting back on the money available for our cities and counties.
We, of course, know there are going to be those who feel this will be a good move as it will force local governments to be less reliant on funds provided through gaming.
After all, for many years now we have heard from residents who have decried the use of these funds for municipal and county programs.
However, we feel this would be a bad move for the state and encourage the governor and our legislators to look at other alternatives, if possible.
The communities of the Northern Panhandle have been in decent shape financially, cutting back where they are able to, but also investing in their future.
We have made many inroads and are slowly, but surely, moving forward in revitalizing our region.
The residents of Brooke and Hancock counties, who are finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, should not have to pay for the poor financial decisions made in Charleston over the years.
We know this is not an easy time to be working on the state's budget. Deep cuts already have been made and more are sure to come in the future.
We just ask those involved in making these decisions to look at all areas very carefully.